Skip to main content

Full text of "Studies of familiar hymns"

See other formats


Endowed by the Reverend 

Louis Fitzgerald Benson, d.d. 





* * * of « ♦ < 


* «• * *-*^y * * 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Princeton Theological Seminary Library 



Spiritual Songs. 

. IuTtfree BOOKS. 

I. Colle&ed from the Scriptures. 

II. Compos'd on Divine Subje&s, 

III. Prepared for the Lord's Supper. 

With an. ESSAY 

Towards the Improvement of Chri- 
ftian Pfalmody., by the Uf& of E- 
vangelical Hymns in Worfhlp^ as 
well as the Plalms of David. 

By /. WATTS. 

And they fung a new Song, fdying y Thou art 
worthy , &c. for thou waft /lain and baft re- 
deemed us, fee. Rev. $.9. 

Soliti euent (i. e. Chrifflani) convenire, car- 
menque Chrifio quafi Deo cjicere. Plinm 
m Epift. . .... 

■ i i' i ini p— i ' H ' ' ■ 11 ' ■ iiiii— — — — 


Printed by J. Humfreys, for John Lawrence, 

at the Angel in the Poultrey. 1707. 









Editor of "The Hymnal Published by Authority of the 

General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in hie 

U. S. A.," "■ The Hymnal for Use in Congregational 

Churches," "The Chapel Hymnal," 

and "The School Hymnal' 




192 1 

Copyright, 1903 

Published March, iqoj 


When Dr. Ray Palmer, late in life, came to narrate 
the origin of his youthful hymn, " My Faith Looks Up 
to Thee," he explained that he would feel no little delicacy 
in so doing, " were it not that in one way and another it 
has happened that very inaccurate, and in some instances 
wholly apocryphal, things have been reported concerning 
it. It has furnished quite a striking illustration of the 
difficulty of transmitting verbally, with entire accuracy, 
a few simple facts, from one person to another." " Slight 
inaccuracies, rhetorical statements, and the imaginations 
of writers or speakers," he goes on to say, " have some- 
times combined to form quite an unauthentic history of 
its origin." 

Dr. Palmer's chagrin over the literature setting forth 
the history of his own hymn appears to have been shared, 
measurably, by many readers of the popular literature 
setting forth the history of the hymns in which they 
themselves happen to be interested. The frankness also 
of Dr. Palmer's criticism has been emulated by them — 
a frankness which has fulfilled itself (one would hope) in 


expressing the opinion that the desire to tell a good 
story, the ambition to furnish a racy anecdote for homi- 
letical purposes, is coupled, at times, with a weakening 
hold upon the realities. 

'Twere pity if 'twere true : and the present writer is 
not solicitous to defend all that he has read upon the 
history of our hymns. Yet he would venture the remark 
(though it be no more than a plea of confession and 
avoidance) that the telling of the true story of a hymn is 
not so simple a task as some readers may have assumed 
it to be, but is, on the contrary, an undertaking requiring 
patient investigation at first hand. 

One does not know the history of a hymn till he has 
traced it to its source and studied its original text and 
surroundings ; till he has worked over its bearings, bio- 
graphical and hymnological, and has tracked its subse- 
quent career, textual and liturgical, by actual handling 
of the hymnals and other books in which it appears ; 
till he has sought out and scanned such landmarks as 
remain to testify to its spiritual history, its use and influ- 
ence over men. 

Such investigations involve the pains of gathering, or 
of finding access to, extensive collections of hymn books, 
books of poetry, biographies, fugitive publications, and 
material of many sorts. A tedious task, no doubt, unless 
lightened by love ! That some who have felt the call to 
narrate the story of our hymns have sought the goal 
by a shorter road affords, it may be, an explanation of 


the " apocrypha " and the " anecdotage " of popular 

Contemplating the simplicity of the results of his studies 
of familiar hymns as set forth in this book, the writer is 
almost ashamed thus to hint at the care of his prepara- 
tion. It had been better, possibly, simply to say that 
while he has tried to be interesting, he has tried yet more 
to be trust worth}'. 

The general character and purpose of these Studies is 
explained by their origin. This book grew out of a 
series of six papers (expanding, under encouragement, to 
twenty-five) written for Forward and The Wellspritig^ the 
admirable periodicals of the Presbyterian and Congrega- 
tional publishing houses, designed for young people and 
the family. For the book these Studies have been re- 
written to a somewhat larger scale, but with an effort 
not to sacrifice too much of their original simplicity. The 
fact of their origin explains also the appending to each 
Study of " Some Points for Discussion " : the hope 
having been (it still abides) that groups or societies of 
young people might be led to think over and discuss the 
message of the hymns they so often sing, sometimes, it 
may be, too thoughtlessly. 

Between the hymns here studied there is no intended 
connection ; each hymn being chosen for its own sake — 
for some distinction it had, but with an eye at the same 
time upon the veracious material for illustrating it at the 
writer's command. For that reason a chronological 


arrangement of the Studies has been avoided, and none 
other has been sought, except in so far as giving prece- 
dence to some Study precludes repetition in one coming 
after. It pleased the writer's fancy that the book should 
begin in the Light that dawned on Bethlehem and should 
end at Sunset and Evening Star. 

The text of the hymns, in every case, is that of The 
Hymnal now widely used in Presbyterian and Congrega- 
tional churches. To that book reference is also made 
in the case of hymns merely cited; a course sufficiently 
justified (if for no other reason) by the convenience of 
having a common standard. 


In this new edition a few corrections of typographical 
errors have been made in the plates, and notes embody- 
ing later information have been inserted at pages 61, 190, 
and 258. 

When referring to numerous hymns and tunes through- 
out the book, mention was made of the number borne by 
each of them in The Hymnal of 1895. The Hymnal has 
been followed by the The Hymnal revised of 191 1, in 
which these numbers are changed. But since several 
hundred thousand of The Hymnal are still in use, it has 
not seemed practicable to change these numbers here. 
Moreover, the hymn " I W T ould Not Live Alway " (No. 
xxi) is omitted from The Hymnal revised. 



I. O Little Town of Bethlehem {Phillips 

Brooks) i 

II. Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus {George 

Duffield) 13 

III. Sun of My Soul, Thou Saviour Dear {John 

Keble) 25 

IV. How Firm a Foundation, Ye Saints of the 

Lord (K ) 37 

V. Lord, with Glowing Heart I'd Praise 

Thee {Francis Scoff Key) 51 

VI. From Greenland's Icy Mountains (Reginald 

Heber) 63 

VII. My Faith Looks Up to Thee {Ray Palmer) 75 

VIII. Lead, Kindly Light, Amid the Encircling 

Gloom (John Henry Newman) .... 85 

IX. My Country, 'tis of Thee (Samuel Francis 

Smith) 97 

X. Onward, Christian Soldiers {Sabine Baring- 
Gould) ' 107 

XL Nearer, My God, to Thee (Sarah Flower 

Adams) 117 




XII. When I Survey mil Wondrous Cross [Isaac 

Watts) 127 

XIII. Still in Accents Sweet and Strong 

{Samuel Longfellow) 137 

XIV. Jesus Christ is Risen To-day [Composite). 147 

XV. A Mighty Fortress i> Our God .Martin 

Luther. Translated by Frederic Henry Hedge ) 155 

XVI. Abide with Me: Fast Falls the Eventide 

I Henry Francis Lyte) 169 

XYII. God Bless our Native Land [attributed to 

Charles T. Brooks and John S. Dwight) . 179 

XYIII. Father of Mercies, in Thy Word [Anne 

Steele) 191 

XIX. O Day of Rest and Gladness i Christopher 

Wordsworth) 201 

XX. Take my Life, and Let it Be ( I -ranees Ridley 

Havergaf) ....211 

XXI. I Would Not Live Alway; I Ask Not to 

Stay I William Augustus Muhlenberg) . . 221 

XXII. O Help us. Lord: Each Hour of Need 

I Henry Hart Mi /man) 233 

XXIII. Shepherd of Tender Youth < Clement. Trans- 

lated by Henry Martyn Dexter) .... 243 

XXIV. Thine For Eyer ! God of Love [Mary 

Fawler Maude) 253 

XXV. Sunset and Evening Star {Lord Tennyson) . 263 



Facsimile of the Title-page of the First Edition 
of Watts's "Hymns" Frontispiece 

Autograph Verses of " O Little Town of Bethlehem '* 3, 1 1 
From I lie original manuscript in the possession of George C. 
Thomas, Esq. 

Lewis H. Redner 5 

From a photograph by Mulnier, Paris. 

Autograph Staff- of the Tune "St. Louis" .... 7 

Phillips Brooks 9 

From a photograph, loaned by Mr. Redner. 

Dudley A. Tyng 15 

From an engraving, loaned by Mr. John P. A /wads. 

George Duffield 19 

From Mitchell's " History of Temple Presbyterian Church." 

Autograph Verse of " Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus " 23 

Autograph Verses of "Sun of My Soul" ..... 27 
From "A Facsimile Reproduction of the First Form of 
treble's Christian Year?' 

John Keble 31 

From an engraving by F. Ilalpin, after G. Richmond. 

Facsimile of the Frontispiece to "Rippon"s Selec- 
tion" 39 

Facsimile of the Pace from "Rippon's Selection" 




Autograph Verse of "Lord, with Glowing Heart 
I'd Praise Thee " 51 

Francis S. Key 57 

Autograph Verses of "From Greenland's Icy Moun- 
tains" 65 

Reginald Heber 69 

From an engraving by P. ll'oolnoth, after a painting by 

T. Phillips. 

Autograph Verse of "My Faith Looks Up to Thee" 79 

Ray Palmer S3 

From an engraving by II. IV. Smith, after a photograph by 

John Henry Newman 87 

From an English engraving. 

Autograph Lines of "Lead, Kindly Light" .... 91 

Cardinal Newman 95 

Fi -om a ph otogi ap h . 

Autograph of "My Country, 'tis of Thee" . . . 100 
Samuel F. Smith 103 

From a photogra/h by Soule Photograph Co. 

Autograph Verses of "Onward, Christian Soldiers" iii 
Sabine Baring-Gould 113 

From a photograph by Elliott and Fry. 

Sarah F. Adams 121 

From the Strand Magazine. 

Autograph Verse of "Nearer, My God, to Thee" . 123 

A 1 tograph Memoranda of Dr. Watts 131 

From Paxton Hood's " Isaae Watts P 

Isaac Watts 133 

From an old mezzotint, after an original portrait. 

The Longfellow House, Portland 139 



Samuel Longfellow 141 

Autograph Verses of "O Still in Accents Sweei \m> 
Strong" 145 

A Page from "Lyra Dayidica" 150 

Martin Luther 157 

From an engravings after a portrait by Cranach. 

Autograph Verse of "A Mighty Fortress ts Our 
God" . '. 162 

Frederic - H. Hedge 165 

From a photograph furnished by Mr. F. II. Hedge. 

Autograph Verse of "Abide with Me" 171 

Henry F. Lyte 175 

After a painting. 

Autograph Poem of Charles T. Brooks 182 

Autograph Verse of John S. Dwight 184 

Charles T. Brooks , 187 

From a photograph. 

John S. Dwight 189 

Autograph Verses of "Father of Mercies, in Thy 

Word" 193 

Miss Steele's Birthplace 197 

Miss Steele's Bible 199 

These are reproduced from Rev. If. Garrett Ilora' 
"Anne Steele and Her Hymns" 

Christopher Wordsworth 203 

From an English engraving. 

Autograph Verse of " O Day of Rest and Gladness" 207 
Autograph Lines of "Take My Life, and Let it Be" 215 
Frances R. Havergal 215 

From a photograph by Elliott and Fry. 



Ai roGRApH Verses of " I Would Not Live Ai.wav" . 225 

Title-page of Kingsley's Tine "Frederick" . . . 227 

William A. Muhlenberg 229 

From an 1 ngraving. 

Autograph Verse of "0 Help us, Lord; Each Hoik 
of Need " 237 

Henry H. Milman 239 

Autograph Verse of "Shepherd of Tender Youth" 247 

Henry M. Dexter 249 

Autograph Verses of "Think For Ever! God of 
Love" 255 

Mary F. Maude 259 

From a photograph by C. Hawkins. 

Autograph of "Sunset and Evening Star" .... 265 

Lord Tennyson 269 

From an engraving by G. J. Stot/art, after a photograph by 

J. May a II. 




The Text of the Hymn 

i O little town of Bethlehem, 

How still we see thee lie ; 
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep 

The silent stars go by : 
Yet in thy dark streets shineth 

The everlasting Light ; 
The hopes and fears of all the years 

Are met in thee to-night. 

2 For Christ is born of Mary ; 

And gathered all above, 
While mortals sleep, the angels keep 

Their watch of wondering love. 
O morning stars, together 

Proclaim the holy birth ; 
And praises sing to God the King, 

And peace to men on earth. 

3 How silently, how silently, 

The wondrous gift is given ! 
So God imparts to human hearts 

The blessings of His heaven. 
No ear may hear His coming, 

But in this world of sin. 
Where meek souls will receive Him still, 

The dear Christ enters in. 



4 O holy Child of Bethlehem, 
Descend to us, we pray; 
Cast out our sin, and enter in, 

Be born in us to-day. 
We hear the Christmas angels 

The great glad tidings tell; 
O come to us, abide with us, 
Our Lord Emmanuel. 

Rev. Phillips Brooks, 1868 

NOTE. — Four verses of the five as originally written (see under "Some 
Points for Discussion"). This text agrees with the author's 
manuscript. That issued by Bishop Brooks's publishers in 
"illuminated'' style was inaccurate. 

The Story of the Hymn 

It was the sight of Bethlehem itself, one feels very- 
sure, that gave Phillips Brooks the impulse to write this 
hymn. He was then rector of the Church of the Holy 
Trinity, in Philadelphia, and had spent a year's vacation 
traveling in Europe and the East. " After an early 
dinner, we took our horses and rode to Bethlehem," 
so he wrote home in Christmas week of 1865. "It 
was only about two hours when we came to the 
town, situated on an eastern ridge of a range of hills, 
surrounded by its terraced gardens. It is a good-look- 
ing town, better built than any other we have seen in 
Palestine. . . . Before dark, we rode out of town to 
the field where they say the shepherds saw the star. 
It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it (all 
the Holy Places are caves here), in which, strangely 
enough, they put the shepherds. The story is absurd, 
but somewhere in those fields we rode through the 
shepherds must have been. ... As we passed, the 
shepherds were still ' keeping watch over their flocks,'' 


"or leading them home to fold." Mr. Brooks returned 
in September, 1866, and it must have been while medi- 
tating at home over what he had seen that the carol 
took shape in his mind. The late Dr. Arthur Brooks 
assured the writer that it was not written until 1868. 

lynNA/ &FoOb 6rO 4&JL> A&JL> £*-> 

$/Vlrxs<j £&y t&Jlyb <f 6&JU €Ut^ dL<L0 &/jULyj 

In the programme of the Christmas service of the 
Sunday-school of the Church of the Holy Trinity 
in that year the carol was first printed, and it was 
sung to the music written for it by Mr. Lewis H. 


Its history as a hymn begins then, and a considerable 
share of the credit for its popularity must be given to 
Mr. Redner, at that time organist of the church, su- 
perintendent of its mission, and teacher in the church 
school. The place of the carol in the books is now estab- 
lished, and new tunes have been and will be written for it. 
But it is safe to say that Mr. Redner's music was what 
carried the carol into notice and popularity. If the 
tune to which it was sung at that service had been un- 
successful, it is unlikely that the carol would have been 
reprinted or heard again, at least during Bishop Brooks's 

With this view of the case it seemed to the present 
writer well worth while that an account, as circum- 
stantial as possible, of the genesis of hymn and tune 
should be secured from the one man living who knows 
it. And standing over Mr. Redner in his Walnut Street 
office in Philadelphia one winter afternoon, waving aside 
the modest protests and gently prodding the reluctance 
of that genial composer, he was happy in obtaining the 
following written statement of the circumstances: "As 
Christmas of 1868 approached, Mr. Brooks told me that 
he had written a simple little carol for the Christmas 
Sunday-school service, and he asked me to write the 
tune to it. The simple music was written in great haste 
and under great pressure. We were to practice it on 
the following Sunday. Mr. Brooks came to me on 
Friday, and said, ' Redner, have you ground out that 
music yet to " O Little Town of Bethlehem " ?' I re- 
plied, ' No,' but that he should have it by Sunday. On 
the Saturday night previous my brain was all confused 
about the tune. I thought more about my Sunday- 



"school lesson than I did about the music. Hut I was 
roused from sleep late in the night hearing an angel- 
strain whispering in my ear, and seizing a piece of music 
paper 1 jotted down the treble of the tune as we now 
have it, and on Sunday morning before going to chun h 
I filled in the harmony. Neither Mr. Brooks nor 1 ever 


thought the carol or the music to it would live beyond 
that Christmas of 1 868. 

" My recollection is that Richard McCauley, who then 
had a bookstore on Chestnut Street west o( Thirteenth 
Street, printed it on leaflets for sale. Rev. Dr. Hunting- 
ton, rector of All Saints' Church, Worcester, Mas^., 


" asked permission to print it in his Sunday-school hymn 
and tunc book, called The Church Porch, and it was he 
who christened the music ' Saint Louis.' " 

The date of Dr. Huntington's book, 1874, does not 
imply a very prompt recognition of the merits of the 
carol even as available for use in the Sunday-school. 
Nor does its appearance in that book imply that the 
carol passed at that date into general use in Sunday- 
schools. But gradually it became familiar in those con- 
nected with the Protestant Episcopal Church. By the 
year 1890 it had begun to make its appearance in 
hymnals intended for use in church worship. In 1892 
(some twenty-four years after its first appearance) Bishop 
Brooks's carol was given a place as a church hymn in 
the official hymnal of his own denomination. This 
occasioned the composition of new tunes to its words 
for rival musical editions of that book, and also drew 
attention afresh to the earlier tune of Mr. Redner. It 
seems, too, to have settled the status of the hymn, recent 
editors being as reluctant to omit the hymn as their 
predecessors had been to recognize it. 

There is, however, nothing unusual or surprising in 
this delay in admitting the carol into the church hymnals. 
Almost all hymns undergo such a period of probation 
before they attain recognition ; and it is for the best 
interests of hymnody that they should. In this particu- 
lar case there was an especial reason for delay. There 
had to be a certain change in the standards by which 
hymns are judged before a carol such as this could be 
esteemed suitable for church use. In 1868, it is likely, 
not even its author would have seriously considered it in 
such a connection. 



V ^ v 

ip * \V -±^ 

1 — r 

0&Z Ocffc, 



Phillips Brooks was born in Boston, December 13th, 
1835. He came of a long line of Puritan ancestors, 
many of whom had been Congregational clergymen. 
His parents became connected with the Episcopal 
Church, and he was reared in the strict ways of the 
Evangelical wing of that Church. He had the typical 
Boston education, the Latin School and then Harvard, 
from which he was graduated in 1855. He was then 
for a few months a teacher in the Latin School, but 
there he had the humiliating experience of complete 
failure. He soon decided to enter the ministry, and 
studied at Alexandria Seminary, in Virginia. In 1859 
he became rector of a small church in Philadelphia. 
Here his sermons attracted much attention, and in 1861 
he was called to be rector of the Church of the Holy 
Trinity, in the same city. 

In that position he remained until 1869, when his own 
leanings toward his native town and the urgency of re- 


peated calls from there led him to accept the rectorship 
of Trinity Church, Boston. The congregation built for 
him the great church in the Back Bay, and there he 
exercised that wonderful ministry with which we all are 
familiar. In 1891 he was elected bishop of his Church 
in Massachusetts, and after some controversy, occasioned 
by his broad views in church matters, his election was 
confirmed and he was consecrated. But this position he 
was not to fill for long. The strain of the great work he 
had been doing had undermined even his giant strength, 
and after a short sickness he passed away on January 
23rd, 1893. 

Bishop Brooks was the most famous preacher and the 
most widely-loved clergyman of his time. The shock 
of his death was felt in every branch of the Church 
throughout the land, for while many disagreed with his 
opinions, none who knew him in his work could with- 
hold their admiration. The word that seems best to 
describe him is " great." He was great in his physical 
proportions, great in the endowments of genius, great in 
the power to work, extraordinarily great in his personal 
influence over men, greatest of all in the moral elevation 
of his character and his ever-deepening spirit of conse- 
cration to Christ's service. 

The connection of one so great with hymnody as the 
writer of a few simple carols intended for children seems 
at first a little incongruous. But after reading his biog- 
raphy, and understanding the man's nature, one feels 
rather that nothing he ever did was more characteristic 
of him. It now appears that verse-writing was even a 
regular habit with him, probably as a relief to feelings 
his intensely reserved nature could express in no other 


way. And he not only loved children dearly, but liked 
to be their comrade and to get down on the nursery 
floor and romp with them. His own heart was like a 
child's, and he wrote Christmas and Easter carols be- 
cause he entered into those festivals with a child's 
enthusiasm and joy. 


But there is another point of connection between 
Bishop Brooks and hymnody which must not be passed 
over. Its disclosure was to many one of the surprises 
of that wonderful biography of his friend by Dr. 
Allen. And that connection is in the fact that his own 
mind and heart were stored with hymns, to such an 
extent and in such a way that they were one of the real 
influences of his life. 

In one of the letters " the father regrets that Phillips 


44 could not have been with the family on the last Sunday 
evening when the boys recited hymns. This was a 
beautiful custom, which called from each one of the 
children the learning of a new hymn ever)' Sunday, and 
its recital before the assembled family. In a little book, 
carefully kept by the father, there was a record of the 
hymns each child had learned, beginning with William, 
who had the advantage of age, and had learned the 
greatest number, followed by Phillips, who came next, 
and the record tapering down until John is reached, with 
a comparatively small number at his disposal. Most of 
them were from the old edition of the Prayer Book, 
then bound up with a metrical selection of Psalms and 
a collection of two hundred and twelve hymns." <4 But 
there were others. When Phillips went to college there 
were some two hundred that he could repeat. They 
constituted part of his religious furniture, or the soil 
whence grew much that cannot now be traced. He never 
forgot them." Again his biographer remarks : 4< These 
hymns Phillips carried in his mind as so much mental 
and spiritual furniture, or as germs of thought; they 
often reappeared in his sermons, as he became aware of 
some deeper meaning in the old familiar lines." Once 
more the biographer recurs to the subject ; this time 
to speak of 44 the language of sacred hymns learned in 
childhood and forever ringing in his ears," as one of 
the channels through which 44 he had felt the touch of 


(i) Bishop Brooks's biographer says of this carol: 
" It is an exquisitely simple thing, and yet one feeis 


"behind the words the existence of a great soul, medi- 
tating on the mystery of the divine revelation." Is this 
a true characterization? He suggests further that " It 
has also a theological significance — the adjustment be- 
tween the natural order and the divine revelation." 


(2) In the original manuscript of the carol there was 
a fourth verse not used in the hymn books. Its form 
as first written appears in the facsimile. Mr. Redner 


writes : " The fourth line led to some amusing criticism 
lest it should smack of the doctrine of the Immaculate 
Conception. Brooks then changed that line to 'Son of 
the Mother mild,' [and so it appears in the Christmas 
programme of 1868], but he afterwards decided to omit 
the fourth verse altogether from the carol." Is it worth 
while to restore the omitted verse ? 

(3) The form of the carol is somewhat unusual for a 
hymn. It is not (until the last verse) an offering of 
direct praise or prayer to God, but is rather a medita- 
tion in which the singer addresses the little town itself. 
Some hymnologists on that account question the pro- 
priety of giving it a place among the hymns of the 
Church. Is the carol really wanting in the form proper 
for a hymn ? and if so, how far is its defect overcome 
by deeper qualities that mark it as a hymn rather than 
a ballad? 

(4) The irregularities of the metre offer an interesting 
study. The general scheme is that called " common 
metre," a line of four accents alternating with one of 
three. This was the usual metre of the old English 
ballads ; and it looks as though Mr. Brooks had been 
studying the balladists, who had a way of dropping out 
an accented syllable here and there, and of breaking an 
occasional line into two by putting an additional rhyme 
into the middle of it. Do not these irregularities add to 
the charm ? 

(5) What is the meaning of the lines : — 

" The hopes and fears of all the years 
Are met in thee to-night " ? 




i Stand up, stand up for Jesus, 

Ye soldiers of the cross ; 
Lift high His royal banner, 

It must not suffer loss : 
From victory unto victory 

His army He shall lead, 
Till every foe is vanquished, 

And Christ is Lord indeed. 

2 Stand up, stand up for Jesus, 

The trumpet call obey ; 
Forth to the mighty conflict 

In this His glorious day : 
Ye that are men now serve Him 

Against unnumbered foes; 
Let courage rise with danger, 

And strength to strength oppose. 

3 Stand up, stand up for Jesus, 

Stand in His strength alone; 
The arm of flesh will fail you, 

Ye dare not trust your own : 
Put on the gospel armor, 

Each piece put on with prayer ; 
Where duty calls, or danger, 

Be never wanting there. 

T ; 


4 Stand up, stand up for Jesus, 
The strife will not be long ; 
This day the noise of battle, 
The next the victor's song : 
To him that overcometh 

A crown of life shall be; 
He with the King of Glory 
Shall reign eternally. 

Rev. George Duffield, 1858 

NOTE. — Four verses of the original six. The text ib taken from a leaflet 
printed by the author in 1883. 

The Story of the Hymn 

Very few hymns have had so pathetic an origin as 
this. Its author, the Rev. George Duffield, was a 
pastor in Philadelphia during the great revival of the 
winter of 1857 and the spring of 1858, which centred 
about the Noonday Prayer Meetings in Jayne's Hall, 
under the charge of the Young Men's Christian Asso- 

The real leader of the movement was a young Episco- 
palian clergyman, Dudley A. Tyng. Though not yet 
thirty years old, he was well known for his stand for 
interdenominational fellowship and for the fervor of his 
evangelical zeal. In Philadelphia, at the time, he was 
especially before the public eye, having but lately, after 
a contest with his vestry, precipitated by a sermon in 
opposition to slave-holding, been compelled to retire 
from the rectorship of the Church of the Epiphany. He 
had gone forth with those sympathizing with him, and 
preached in a public hall, establishing there the Church 
of the Covenant. The band of clergymen of various 
denominations gathered about him was united not only 



by zeal in carrying on " The Work of God in Phila- 
delphia," but also in admiration and affection for Mr. 
Tyng ; and not the less so for their general feeling that 
" he had been persecuted." Among these helpers was 
Mr. Duffield, a deeply attached friend, who thought Mr. 
Tyng " one of the noblest, bravest, manliest men I ever 

Athwart this fellowship and common work came the 
tragic interruption of Mr. Tyng's death. On Tuesday, 
April 13th, 1858, he went from the study of his country 
home to the barn floor where a mule was at work tread- 
ing a machine for shelling corn. As he patted the 
animal on the neck the sleeve of his study-gown be- 
came caught in the cogs of the wheel, wrenching and 
lacerating his arm, from the neck down, in a dreadful 
manner. It seems that mortification set in. In any 
event amputation, performed on the Saturday following, 
did no more than postpone the end. Mr. Tyng died on 
Monday, April 19th, 1858. 

Early that morning, it being perceived that he was 
sinking, he was asked if he had any messages to send, 
among others, to the band of clergymen so devoted to 
him and the work. When able to rouse himself suffi- 
ciently, he responded with a short message, beginning 
with the words : " Tell them, ' Let us all stand up for 
Jesus.' " It is evident that these words especially touched 
the already aroused feelings of his fellow-workers. 
Bishop Macllvaine and the Rev. John Chambers quoted 
them at the funeral as their friend's dying message. At 
one of the Jayne's Hall meetings a poem was read 
from the platform by the Rev. Thomas H. Stockton, 
beginning : 


u Stand up for Jesi s ! Strengthen^ by His hand, 
Even I, though young, have ventured thus to stand ; 
But, soon cut down, as maim'd and faint I lie, 
Hear, O my friends, the charge with which I die — 
Stand up for Jesus !" 

And the Rev. Kingston Goddard, preaching to a great 
throng on the day after Mr. Tyng's death, remarked: 
" I conceive that the whole of my brother's teaching is 
contained in that grand and noble expression of heroism 
and devotion that fell from his lips in his dying hour — 
' Stand up for Jesus /' " 

Mr. Duffield had been present at these services, but, 
with his own feelings deeply stirred by his friend's tragic 
death, perhaps hardly needed such incentives to quicken 
the appeal of that dying message to his heart. On the 
Sunday following he preached to his own people from 
Ephesians vi. 14, and read as the concluding exhorta- 
tion of the sermon the verses of his now famous hymn, 
into which he had wrought the message of his friend. 

The superintendent of his Sunday-school, Mr. Benedict 
D. Stewart, had them printed on a fly leaf; they were 
copied by religious papers ; they appeared in The Sabbath 
Hymn Book (Congregational) that same year, and in the 
Supplement to The Church Psalmist (Presbyterian) in the 
next year. The hymn became a favorite of the soldiers 
during the Civil War, and is now sung in churches and 
Sunday-schools all over the land and in many foreign 

Long afterwards (in 1883) Dr. Duffield printed a leaflet 
containing his preferred text of the hymn, and also 
his recollections of its origin. This has been often 
quoted from, and forms the familiar history of the hymn. 


Dr. Duffield's memory had retained its hold upon so 
much of the events as directly concerned himself, but it 
is plain that other dates and circumstances had become 
somewhat dimmed with the lapse of years. And the 
present writer has not hesitated to supplement and cor- 
rect these recollections in the light of facts disclosed in 
the Memorial Volume published in the year of Mr. 
Tyng's death, and especially in the touching Memorial 
Sermon of Mr. Tyng's father (Stephen H. Tyng, D.D.), 
who was present during the closing days of his son's 

" A cob of corn from that ' threshing-floor,' " we are 
told by Dr. Duffield's son, in 1885, "has ever since 
hung on the study-wall of the author of the hymn." 
The hymn itself seems to echo the voice of his friend : 
" Tell them, ■ Let us all stand up for Jesus,' " with his 
other words to those about him soon following, " Sing ! 
Sing! Can you not sing?" 

The author of the Hymn 

In the ministry of the American Presbyterian Church 
there have been three distinguished men named George 
Duffield. The first (1732-1790) was a patriot and 
chaplain in the Revolutionary army. His grandson, the 
second George Duffield (1796- 1868), was a successful 
pastor at Carlisle, Philadelphia, and other places, and 
an able theologian, whose work on Regeneration met 
with the disapproval of his Presbytery. It was his son, 
the third George Duffield, who was the author of his 
hymn. " The author is not his father, Rev. George 
Duffield, D.D., the Patriarch of Michigan," he found 


occasion to say after his hymn had become famous while 
his personality seemed obscured. "Neither is he his son, 
Rev. Samuel \Y. Duffield, . . . now pastor of the West- 
minster Church, Bloomfield, N. J. [I lej has not yet lost 
his identity, and claims to be his own individual self." 


[At about the time of writing the hymn] 

He was born at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 18 18, was 
graduated from Yale College in 1837, and from Union 
Theological Seminary in 1840. In the same year he 
married, was ordained, and installed pastor of the Fifth 
Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, where he remained 


seven years. It was as pastor and preacher, rather than 
as scholar or man of letters, that Dr. Duffield spent his 
life. After leaving Brooklyn he was pastor of the First 
Church of Bloomfield, New Jersey, for four years. In 
1 85 I he broke off a happy pastorate there to accept the 
call of the Central Presbyterian Church of the Northern 
Liberties, Philadelphia, with the expectation of rinding in 
the great city an enlarged opportunity for usefulness. It 
seems quite certain that if he had not gone to Phila- 
delphia we should never have had the hymn so closely 
connected with his experiences there. But to him, at 
the time, it must have seemed as though his going had 
been the mistake of his professional life. He found a 
mortgaged church building unfortunately located in a 
neighborhood from which the population was moving 
westward, a congregation reduced in numbers, dis- 
heartened, and unable to meet its financial obligations. 
Dr. Duffield's Philadelphia pastorate was not wanting in 
spiritual results, but with the conditions threatening the 
continued life of his church he was not able to cope. 
Year by year the congregation grew less in numbers 
and resources. Dr. Duffield, however, held on until 
1 86 1, when he resigned his pastorate. His subsequent 
pastorates were of a less conspicuous character, — at 
Adrian, Michigan, for four years, at Galesburg, Illinois, 
for an equal period, and then at Saginaw City, Michigan. 
His active service covered more than forty years. 
Dr. Duffield's last years were lived in Bloomfield, with 
his son. The son, himself a poet, always recalled with 
pride that his hand had made the first " fair copy " 
of his father's hymn for the press, and those who saw 
father and son together at Bloomfield, still speak of the 


reverence and love with which that same hand sup- 
ported the father's failing steps. But the son was first 
called, and it was more than a year before the father fol- 
lowed him. Dr. Duffield died at Bloomfield on July 6th, 
1888, and his remains were buried at Detroit. 

Dr. Duffield himself was a good soldier of Jesus 
Christ. He served so well and so long that at first 
thought it seems strange, even unjust, that he should 
now be remembered principally as the author of a hymn. 
But, after all, such a hymn is the flower of a man's life, 
and holds the best he was and had. It is quite possible, 
too, that Dr. Duffield's hymn is the crown of his labors 
for Christ. He helped hundreds while he lived, but 
how many thousands have been encouraged and in- 
spired by his brave song ! 


(1) Why are military hymns so popular? and is it 
right that they should be? Was a recent critic justified 
in the remark that it seemed to him foolish for a com- 
pany of primary school boys and girls to march singing 
of soldiering and battles ? 

(2) The original second and fifth verses were omitted 
from The Hymnal. Would either or both of them be 
any addition to the hymn as here printed ? 

2. " Stand up, stand up for Jesus, 

The solemn watchword hear ; 
If while ye sleep He suffers, 

Away with shame and fear ; 
Where'er ye meet with evil, 

Within you or without, 
Charge for the G >d of Rattles, 

And put the foe to rout. 


5. " Stand up, stand up for Jesus, 

Eacli soldier to his post ; 
Close up the broken column, 

And shout through all the host: 
Make good the loss so heavy, 

In those that still remain, 
And prove to all around you 

That death itself is gain."' 

(3) The four verses in The Hymnal (and here) are 
exactly as the author wrote them. In many books the 
sixth line of verse one (" His army He shall lead ") reads, 
" His army shall be led." This was originally a mis- 
print, and was a great annoyance to the author. The 
change spoils both rhyme and sense, and needs no dis- 

In The Sabbath Hymn Book of 1858, and in most 
books since, the sixth line of verse three (" Each piece 
put on with prayer ") is altered to, " And, watching unto 
prayer." Was the change justifiable, and is it an 
improvement ? (Note Dr. Duffield's words : " It is the 
author's earnest wish that " the hymn " shall continue 
unaltered until the Soldiers of the Cross shall replace 
it by something better.") 

(4) The second verse of the hymn contains a para- 
phrase of the text of a sermon preached by Mr. Tyng 
at one of the Jayne's Hall meetings. According to Dr. 
Duffield's leaflet it was preached the Sunday before 
Mr. Tyng's death (but he was then in a dying condition) ; 
according to the Memorial it was preached on March 
30th. A great throng of young men was present, and 
Dr. Duffield says, " at least one thousand, it was believed, 
were ' the slain of the Lord.' " What was the text of 
the sermon ? 




(5) Which of the familiar tunes to these words best 
expresses the spirit and sentiments of the hymn — Webb, 
Lancashire, or Greenland (see The Hymtial, Xos. 304, 
347, 348) ? This is an instance of a hymn making its 
way without the aid of a tune — the tune to which it was 
set in The Sabbath Hymn and Tunc Book having been 
forgotten loner a^o, and none of those mentioned hav- 
ing been written for this hymn. 




i Sun of my soul, Thou Saviour dear, 
It is not night if Thou be near; 
O may no earth-born cloud arise 
To hide Thee from Thy servant's eyes. 

2 When the soft dews of kindly sleep 
My wearied eyelids gently steep, 

Be my last thought, how sweet to rest 
For ever on my Saviour's breast. 

3 Abide with me from morn till eve, 
For without Thee I cannot live ; 
Abide with me when night is nigh, 
For without Thee I dare not die. 

4 If some poor wandering child of Thine 
Have spurned to-day the voice Divine, 
Now, Lord, the gracious work begin; 
Let him no more lie down in sin. 

5 Watch by the sick ; enrich the poor 
With blessings from Thy boundless store; 
Be every mourner's sleep to-night, 

Like infants' slumbers, pure and light. 



6 Come near and bless us when we wake, 
Ere through the world our way we take, 
Till in the ocean of Thy love 
We lose ourselves in heaven above. 

Re". John Keble. 1820 

NOTE. — Six verses out of the fourteen of the original poem. The text is 
that of the second edition of The Christian Year, with per- 
haps) a variation in the form of one word (see under " Some 
Points for Discussion "). 


In June, 1827, a book of verse in two thin i6mo vol- 
umes was published at Oxford, England It had the 
following title : " The Christian Year : Thoughts in Verse 
for the Sundays and Holydays throughout the Year." 
Beneath the title was the motto, " In quietness and in 
confidence shall be your strength." The author was a 
young clergyman. John Keble, but his name did not 
appear in the book. The secret of authorship was 
shared by a number of friends to whom he had sub- 
mitted the manuscript, and gradually leaked out. For 
years he had been writing and revising his poems, and 
he wished to hold them back for still further polishing ; 
perhaps not letting the book appear till after his death. 
But his aged father's urgent wish to see it in print impelled 
him to publish it without further delay. 

The success of the book was immediate and extra- 
ordinary. Edition after edition was called for. In 
twenty-six years after publication forty-three editions, one 
hundred and eight thousand copies in all. were printed. 
Indeed, the sale of the book has gone on continuously 
up to the present time. The man who seemed most 
indifferent to its success, most unconscious of its merits, 


was the author himself. He never willingly talked about 
it or cared to hear it praised. That may be explained 
partly by his modesty and dissatisfaction with his work, 
but yet more from the fact that the book laid bare his 
inmost thoughts and feelings. 

The Christian Year is not a continuous poem. It 
consists of a series of poems, one for each of the days 

c/u*. ^ /hy *&&/ / Guru. SAVrttrJl fiU*sri 
/£ LS Hit h^yC6r , ijf tfL-u A **<a^/ 


and occasions for which services are provided in the 
Book of Common Prayer. These poems were not 
intended for singing, but for devotional reading as a 
poetical companion to the Prayer Book. And yet a good 


many hymns have been taken from them by compilers 
of hymn books. 

The first service in the Prayer Book is the Order for 
Morning Prayer. And the first poem in The, Christian 
Year is called " Morning." Certain of its verses make 
one of our most familiar morning hymns, " New Every 
Morning is the Love" [The Hymnal, Xo. 6). The 
second service in the Prayer Book is the Order for 
Evening Prayer, and in The Christian Year the second 
poem is " Evening." It has fourteen verses, with the 
motto prefixed, " Abide with us, for it is towards even- 
ing, and the day is far spent." The third, seventh, 
eighth, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth verses make 
up the familiar hymn, "Sun of My Soul," as printed in 
The Hymnal (No. 16) and here. 

It would be interesting to know who it was with the 
wit to discover that so lovely and complete a hymn lay 
imbedded among the verses of a poem which, as a whole, 
is not a hymn at all. The great thing was to discern 
the precise point at which the hymn should begin. In a 
copy of the first edition of The Christian Year belonging 
to the present writer some one has mapped out a pro- 
posed hymn, beginning with the first verse of the poem, 
as follows : — 

u 'Tis gone, that bright and orbed blaze, 
Fast fading from our wistful gaze ; 
Yon mantling cloud has hid from sight 
The last faint pulse of quivering light." 

Such a hymn could not have won its way. As early as 
1836 the accomplished Unitarian, John Hamilton Thorn, 
made up for his Selection a hymn whose first verse was 


the ninth of the poem, beginning, " Thou Framer of the 
light and dark," followed by the last three verses as at 
present sung. A year earlier than that the Rev. Henry 
Venn Elliott (brother of the author of "Just as I Am ") 
put into his Psalms and Hymns a selection of four 
verses, beginning with the " Sun of my soul " verse. 
His example was followed by other editors, some of 
them using additional verses. And, unless an earlier 
instance shall turn up, to him must be given the honor 
of discovering the hymn that lay imbedded in the poem. 
It is a curious fact that when Keble himself came to 
select the verses to be used in the Salisbury Hymn 
Book, 1857, he left out the "Sun of my soul" verse 
altogether, and began the hymn with " When the soft 
dews of kindly sleep." In this he has had few followers. 
In England, as has been said, the success of The 
Christian Year was immediate. But England was more 
remote from the United States then than now, and the 
channels of fellowship between the Episcopal churches in 
the two countries were less open. Bishop Doane, of Bur- 
lington, New Jersey, had his attention called to the book 
in 1828, accidentally, by coming across a quotation from 
it. He edited and published in 1834, through Lea & 
Blanchard, Philadelphia, the first American edition o( 
The Christian Year. His attempt, by means of notes, to 
make it serve also as a primer of " the order, institu- 
tions, and services of the Church," together with his 
curious method of printing in italics all such lines 
throughout the book as especially pleased him, cause a 
smile of amusement to flit across the expression of one's 
appreciation of the Bishop's venture. It was not, how- 
ever, until 1865 that " Sun of My Soul " was admitted 


among the hymns appointed to be sung in Protestant 
Episcopal churches. The New England Unitarians (least 
in sympathy with Keble and yet most alert in seeing good 
in new things) were, as so often, the first to introduce 

the hymn into this country. In 1835 F. W. P. Green- 
wood, pastor of Kind's Chapel, Boston, included it in 
his Collection of Psalms and Hymns i beginning the hymn 
with the first verse of the poem (" Tis gone, that bright 
and orbed blaze "), and following that with the " Sun of 
my soul " verse and two more of those now so familiar. 
Several other Unitarian compilers followed Mr. Green- 
wood's lead. Henry Ward Beecher's Plymouth Collec- 
tion of 1855 seems to have introduced the hymn into 
more orthodox circles ; and in The Sabbath Hymn Book 
of the Andover professors, 1858, it appears, at length 
relieved of the incubus of a first verse that is not 
hymnic, as our familiar " Sun of My Soul, Thou Saviour 


John Keble was born at Fairford on April 25th, 1792. 
He was prepared for college by his father, a country 
clergyman (for whom the poet was named), and went 
up to Oxford " as a mere lad, home-bred and home- 
loving." Keble's home-training in a secluded parson- 
age, with the peaceful English landscape outside, and, 
within, the unquestioned reign of the old High Church 
prejudices, opinions, and piety, had a great part in mak- 
ing him what he was. It furnished the very atmosphere 
of the poetry of his after years. 

While only eighteen he was graduated B. A., with 
double first-class honors, then counted a rare distinction. 



In those days, when scholarship outranked athletics, it 
made the shy, gentle lad "first man in Oxford." Cardi- 
nal Newman recalls that when he came there Keble's 
was the first name he heard, spoken of "with reverence 
rather than admiration," and confesses how abashed he 


felt in Keble's presence. This " reverence rather than 
admiration " seems to have been the common feeling 
toward Keble through all his life. 

Keble was elected a Fellow of Oriel College, and 
remained in Oxford as a tutor and as examiner. He 


was ordained to the full ministry in 1816, and took a 
country curacy in addition to college duties. His 
mother's death, in 1823, brought him home to Eairford, 
and there, with the exception of a year as curate of 
Hursley, he stayed as his father's helper as long as the 
latter lived. It was while at Fairford that he published 
The Christian Year. Other than that, perhaps the most 
momentous thing he -did in these years was preaching at 
Oxford in 1833 the famous Assize Sermon that, accord- 
ing to Newman, gave the start to the High Church or 
Oxford Movement, which transformed the Church of 
England. And of this movement Keble and Newman 
and Doctor Pusey were the leading spirits. 

In 1835 Keble's father died. In that year he married 
and became Vicar of Hursley, a lovely village across the 
downs from Winchester. There he remained with entire 
contentment for the rest of his days, a famous man, but 
leading the life of a retired scholar and faithful country 
pastor. He rebuilt the village church, largely out of the 
profits of The Christian Year ; and in his daily services 
and parish ministries carried out the church principles 
for which he stood. 

Tender-hearted, kindly, gentle, and even playful in 
manner, Keble was none the less firm and decided in 
holding and advocating extreme High Church views. 
He gave himself very earnestly to forwarding " the 
movement," and had but scant regard for what he 
called " The Protestant party." But, unlike his friend 
Newman, he saw his way clear to remain in the Church 
of England. It is indeed impossible to think of him as 
making such a breach with his traditions and familiar 
surroundings, or as surviving it if made. 


Keble's mind was that of a poet and not that of a 
logician. Intuition and feeling were more to him than 
reasoning, and he instinctively craved a comfortable sup- 
port of authority as the sanction for his opinions and 
acts. His character, in its childlikeness and purity, its 
entire unworldliness, its devotional fervor and spirit of 
consecration, was lovely indeed. Taken together with 
his power of substituting lofty poetry for polemics, it has 
given him extraordinary influence within the Church of 
England. Beyond its bounds that influence was neces- 
sarily limited by a theory of the church that withdrew 
him from any real sympathy and communion with his 
fellow Christians in other folds. His position in hym- 
nody does not by any means correspond with the impor- 
tant place he occupies as a religious poet. The two 
lovely hymns extracted from the opening poems of 
The Christian Year come near to exhausting the materials 
that are available without an effort of piecing together 
unrelated passages. It is a book of meditative poetry 
and not of hymns, Keble's other poetical works include 
Lyra Innocentium, in which childhood is contemplated 
with the light from stained-glass windows falling upon 
it ; and also a complete metrical version of the Psalms. 
The latter was never used as a hymn book, but is far 
superior to the average attempt to do a thing which, as 
Keble himself knew and acknowledged, is inherently 
impossible. The hymn beginning " God, the Lord, a 
King remaineth " {The Hymnal, No. 89) is an example of 
Keble's renderings. From time to time he contributed 
a few other hymns to various books compiled by personal 
friends. He also assisted Earl Nelson in editing The 
Salisbury Hymn Book of 1857. In this he printed his 


familiar wedding hymn, " The Voice that Breathed o'er 
Eden" (The Hymnal, No. 687). 

Keble died on March 29th, 1866, at Bournemouth, 
where he had gone for the health of his wife, who sur- 
vived him but six weeks. The hist book he had in his 
hand was a hymn book — Roundell Palmer's Book of 
Praise. He had sent for it, because unable to recall all 
the verses of Bishop Ken's Evening Hymn, which he 
was accustomed to say in the night-watches by his wife. 
The graves of the poet and his wife are in Hursley 


(1) Can even a hymn so tender and lovely as this be 
sung thoughtlessly ? There is in the diary of the late 
Archbishop Benson a good instance of the thoughtful 
hearing of the hymn. He was preaching in the chapel 
of Eton College, and notes : " In Evening Service I could 
not see one single boy who was not singing the Evening 
Hymn after Service, ' Sun of My Soul,' — and the last 
verse was most touching, and most touchingly sung, as 
one thought of school as the waking place of so many 
souls and minds : — 

" ' Come near and bless us when we wake, 
Ere through the world our way we take.' " 

(2) The many alterations made in the text of the hymn 
by various editors may well be passed by. The revisions 
of Keble himself are more interesting. Two autograph 
manuscripts of The Christian Year, or parts of it, are in 
existence, and of that dated 1822 a facsimile has been 


printed. Its differences from the Hymnal text are 
these : — 

Verse 2, line 2 : drooping eyelids. 

" " " 4 : our Saviour's. 

" 3 " 1 : to eve. 

" 4 " 1 : wandering soul. 

" " " 2 : has spurned. 

" " " 3 : Thy gracious work. 

" " " 4 : Let him not sleep to-night in sin. 

The Hymnal text here given is that of the second edition 
(182;) of The Christian Year. It differs from that of the 
first edition in only two places. In the opening- line of 
the fourth verse the first edition followed the manuscript 
form, " If some poor wandering soul of thine " ; and the 
last line of that verse began (oddly enough), " Let her no 
more." Can there be any question that in this second 
edition Keble improved the text of these lines ? 

There is, however, one small particular in which the 
Hymnal text differs from that of all the early printed 
editions. In them the last line of the fifth verse is 
printed to read " Like infant's slumbers," instead of " Like 
infants' slumbers." In Keble's manuscript the position 
of the apostrophe is problematical. In later editions of 
The Christian Year the word is printed " infants'," whether 
or no by Keble's authority does not appear. It is hard 
to believe that he would have defended " like infant's 
slumbers" as good English, if his attention was called to 
it. It seems more likely that it was an overlooked mis- 

(3) What passage of Scripture suggested the lines : — 

" O may no earth-born cloud arise 
To hide Thee from Thy servant's eyes" ? 


(41 The familiar tunc, Hursley, was arranged for this 
hymn from an old German melody: Abends ( The Hymnal i 

No. 18), Keble (No. 61), Sun of My Soul (No. 118), 
and Clolata (No. 444), were all specially written for it. 
Of the five tunes, which best expresses the spirit of the 
hymn ? 




i How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, 
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word ! 
What more can He say than to you He hath said, — 
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled ? 

2 " Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed ; 

I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid ; 

I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, 

Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand. 

3 " When through the deep waters I call thee to go, 

The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow ; 
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, 
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress. 

4 " When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, 

My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply; 
The flame shall not hurt thee ; I only design 
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine. 

5 " E'en down to old age all My people shall prove 

My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love ; 
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn, 
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne. 



"6 " The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, 
I will not, I will not desert to his foes ; 
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, 
I'll never, no, never, no, never forsake." 

"K " in Rippon's "Selection of Hymns," 1787 

NOTE.— Six verses out of seven : the text being taken from Dr. Rippon's 


Outside of the great hymn writers, few names are 
more familiar to a student of hymns than that of Dr. 
John Rippon. He was pastor, from 1773 to 1836, of a 
Particular Baptist church in London. He had great 
reputation and influence both as man and as pastor; but 
of all the things he accomplished, the one best remem- 
bered is the hymn book he edited. He and his people 
were alike devoted to singing the psalms and hymns of 
Dr. Watts. Neither had any wish to supersede them, 
but Dr. Rippon had come to feel that hymns were 
needed on some subjects and occasions omitted by Dr. 
Watts. And hence he was led to publish, in the year 
1787, a hymn book with this title: "A Selection of 
Hymns from the Best Authors, Intended to be an Ap- 
pendix to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns. By John 
Rippon, A. M." 

It was a book of great merit, and was used widely 
and for long, many editions being printed in England 
and this country ; and Dr. Rippon is reputed to have 
accumulated a comfortable estate from his profits on the 
publication. The copy of the first edition in the posses- 
sion of the present writer is graced by Dr. Rippon's 
portrait. But as this copy is in special binding, he ven- 
tures to hope that it is one of a few prepared for per- 

Pennfe* tyftSowy 

Engraved fry James Ft'tt/er 



sonal friends, and that copies intended for use in worship 
were not so embellished. In any event Dr. Rippon 
must be credited with the very great services he ren- 
dered to hymnody. The remarkable feature of the 
book, which has given it permanent fame, is the great 
number of original hymns secured by him and there 
first printed. Many of these have been in use ever 

From this copy of Dr. Rippon's book the photogra- 
pher has reproduced for us, even to the light color of 
the ink, the page containing the most famous of these 
hymns. Looking upon the facsimile, we have before us 
the original text of " How Firm a Foundation," from 
the motto at the top to the editor's note at the bottom, 
with all the quaint capitalization, just as their eyes saw 
it who first found inspiration in singing it so long ago. 

The facsimile gives us not only the text, but all that 
is actually known of the authorship of the hymn. Dr. 
Rippon's habit was to print the author's name above a 
hymn. This hymn is one of three to which the only 
signature is the letter " K " followed by a dash. The 
other two, beginning, " In songs of sublime adoration 
and praise," and "The Bible is justly esteemed," do not 
arouse much interest. But the authorship of this one 
seems to have been discussed from the first, and ever 
since has excited much curiosity and speculation. Such 
a problem has its own fascination. One cannot but think 
of the unknown writer, all unconscious that by signing 
his name to the hymn he would have won immortality, 
and of the other people who knew the secret, but are not 
here to answer our questions. 

Naturally we turn to Dr. Rippon's preface, first of all, 

is exc< . 


CXXVIII. Elevens. K . 

Exceeding great and precious Promifes, z Pet. iii. 4 
1 TTQWfirmal leLord 



You, who unto j E s u s foj 

* In ever)' Condition. 
In Poverty's Vale, or abc 
.At Home andAbro: 
•• As thy Days may - 
" ever be. 

3 " Fear not, I am with thee, O b< 
" I, I am thy God, and will ftill 
" I'll ftrengthen thee, help thee, 

to Hand, 
*' Upheld by my righteous or. 

4 M When thro' the deep Waters I ca] 
" The Rivers of Woe mall not the< 
M For I will be with thee, thy : 
"- And fan&ify to thee, t 

5 « When thro' fiery Trials thy Pathway ma 
u My Grace all fumcieni mall be thy Su 
*' Tlie Flame mail not hurt thee, I only 
M ThyDrofs to confume,and thy Gold to refine; 

6 " Even down tooldAge,all myPeopIe fhall prove 
11 My fovereign, eternal, unchangeable Love ; 
" And when hoary Hairs mall their Temples 

*' adorn, 
"Like lambs theyfhall Hill in my bofom b* 
■7 "TheSoultbatonJlsus . 

" I will not, I quill not defert to h 
"ThatSoul > tho , allHell fhouid endeavor 
" Vll never — no never — no neve. 
* Agreeable to Dr. Doddridge's Traa 



to see if it throws any light upon the matter. After 
speaking of distinguished men who have contributed 
hymns, he adds : " In most Places, where the Names of 
the Authors were known, they are put at full Length, 
but the Hymns which are not so distinguished, or which 
have only a single Letter prefixed to them, were, many 
of them, composed by a Person unknown, or else have 
undergone some Considerable Alterations." What Dr. 
Rippon has in mind to say here is that many of the 
unsigned hymns were composed or recast by himself 
(the " Person unknown "), and that generally (but not 
always) he has given the author's name in full when he 
knew it. That is all, and it throws no light here. 

As long as Dr. Rippon lived to reprint his book, the 
signature to this hymn remained unchanged. After his 
death, and when the book had passed from the control 
of his representatives, an enlarged edition appeared, in 
which " K " is changed to " KIRKHAM." Who made 
the change, and for what reason, cannot now be known. 
Very likely it w r as based merely on hearsay. Certainly 
the new editor did not know who wrote the two other 
hymns originally ascribed to " K," for they are left 
anonymous, even that letter being dropped. The ascrip- 
tions of authorship in this edition are so careless and 
full of errors as to carry little weight. In 1788 Thomas 
Kirkham published a collection of hymns, but those 
who have examined it say that this hymn is not among 
them. And there is no evidence that it was written by 
any one of the name of Kirkham. 

Another solution of the puzzle was offered by Daniel 
Sedgwick. He was a second-hand bookseller of London, 
who collected hymn books and studied English hymns 


until he knew more of their history than any one else of 
his time. He suggested that " K" was probably put for 
Keith, meaning George Keith, a London bookseller, 
son-in-law of the famous Dr. Gill, and who was said to 
compose hymns based on his father-in-law's sermons. 
Dr. Julian, who examined Mr. Sedgwick's papers after 
hrs death, reports that his guess was based on nothing 
more substantial than a statement of an old woman 
whom Sedgwick met in an almshouse. But his name 
carried a certain authority, and his guess grew into a tra- 
dition. Many hymn books, even to the present time, 
ascribe the hymn to George Keith, sometimes with, and 
sometimes without, a mark of interrogation. 

So the matter rested until taken up by a well-known 
editor of Boston, Mr. H. L. Hastings, who successfully 
solved the problem of the authorship of another hymn, 
"What a Friend We Have in Jesus." Mr. Hastings 
published the account of his investigations in his paper, 
The Christian, for May, 1887, and it will be best to have 
the story in his own words : 

" In preparing hymns and music for Songs of Pilgrim- 
age, we were led to go over not only Dr. Rippon's hymn 
book but also his Tune Book, edited by Thomas Walker, 
who for a time led the singing in Dr. Rippon's church. 
We noticed that over the hymn in question was placed 
the name of a tune to which it was to be sung, which 
was Geard. On looking up that tune in the book, we 
found it was composed by R. Keene. There being but 
two tunes of that metre in the entire book, the thought 
arose, was the ' K ' of the hymn the same person as the 
1 R. Keene,' to whose tune it was to be sung ? Examin- 
ing both hymn and tune, they seemed to be made for 


" each other, and the evidence seemed to point to R. 
Keene as the author of the hymn ; and we accordingly 
inserted it in Songs of Pilgrimage, with the original 
tune, and placed under it the name of R. Keene, with a 
query (?) to indicate uncertainty as to its origin. 

44 Visiting London, near the close of 1886, we called 
upon the venerable Charles Gordelier, and asked him, 
Who wrote 4 How Firm a Foundation ' ? He gave the 
names Kirkham, Keith, and Keene, but could give no 
definite reason for preferring one to another, until we 
laid the facts before him. Turning to Keene's tune, 
Geard, which he had copied into a book, he at once 
recognized it as the tune to which, fifty years before, 
they were accustomed to sing that hymn, and he also 
remembered that its author, R. Keene, was once a leader 
of the singing in Dr. Rippon's church, and that the 
hymn in question was said to have been written by a 
precentor in Dr. Rippon's church. After considerable 
though:, he recalled that half a century before, when he 
himself led the singing in the Baptist church, and used 
to meet with the different precentors from other meet- 
ings, he had heard the authorship of that hymn attrib- 
uted to Keene, and he finally remembered that an 
aged woman named Fdgehill, a member of Dr. Rippon's 
church, and the wife of a bookseller in Brick Lane, had 
told him that Keene was the author of that hymn. 

44 There might be various reasons why a musician and 
choir master might put his name to a tune which he 
composed, while modest}', or other considerations, might 
cause him to append only his initial to a new hymn ; 
and, in view of all the facts, we think we may consider 
the question settled, and definitely assign the authorship 


"of the hymn to R. Keene, a precentor in Dr. Rippon's 

church, and the author of the tune Geard, to which it 
was sung." 

Such was Mr. Hastings's conclusion, which for some 
reason has not attracted much attention ; but it has had 
a striking confirmation at the hands of another investi- 
gator. In preparing a notice of this hymn for his Dic- 
tionary of 1 lymnology, Dr. John Julian found that in 
Dr. Fletcher's Baptist Collection of 1822 the " K — " of 
Rippon was extended to " Kn," and in his edition of 
1835, still further, to "Keen," while in the preface Dr. 
Fletcher stated that he was greatly assisted by Thomas 
Walker, and acknowledged his extensive acquaintance 
with sacred poety. Now, this Thomas Walker was Dr. 
Rippon's precentor and the editor of his Tune Book, in 
which Geard appears. Taking this association into 
account, Dr. Julian argues that Dr. Walker based his 
ascription of authorship upon actual knowledge of the 
facts, and that " we are justified in concluding that the 
ascription to this hymn must be that of an unknown 
person of the name of Keen." 

We have, then, a result practically the same from two 
independent investigations carried on in each case with- 
out knowledge of the other, and the reasonableness of 
such conclusion seems greatly strengthened by the coin- 
cidence. Mr. Hastings goes a step beyond Dr. Julian in 
fixing the identity of Keene. The present writer would 
add further particulars if he could. In the letters of the 
Rev. George Whitefield are many references to a Robert 
Keene, woolen draper in the Minories, London, who was 
Whitefield's faithful friend, a trustee of his Tabernacle, 
and who lived until 1793. But there seems to be nothing 


that would associate him with Dr. Rippon's Baptist 
hymn book. 

The story of the hymn 

The hymn seems to have come into immediate use 
upon its appearance in Dr. Rippon's book. Copies of 
the book were brought over to this country, and in 1790 
this hymn was put into the hymn book of the Philadel- 
phia Baptist Association. In 1792, only five years after 
its original publication, the whole book was reprinted in 
New York, so that the hymn began its career here almost 
as soon as in England, and for some reason it has won 
a more lasting popularity here than there. So familiar 
is the hymn to us, we imagine it to be a standard wher- 
ever English hymns are sung. But such is not the fact. 
It never gained a foothold within the Church of England. 
It is not sung by the Wesleyans or Presbyterians of 
Great Britain, and but little by the Congregationalists. 
Dr. Horder, the best known hymnologist among the 
latter, speaks of it in his Hymn Leveras a hymn of no 
great merit. Its use, over there, is mostly among 

In this country, on the other hand, few hymns have 
been sung more generally or more enthusiastically. It 
has a part in the history of our common Christianity. 
Very likely the stirring tune to which it has for so long 
been sung throughout the United States is partly respon- 
sible for this popularity. That tune does not rightly 
belong to these words, and. as in the case of the hymn, 
its origin has never been certainly established. The 
statement o( so many books that it was composed by 
John Reading rests on no real foundation. The familiar 


name, " Portuguese Hymn," is an error started by one 
who heard it in the chapel of the Portuguese Embassy 
in London, and hastily assumed it to be a Portuguese 
melody. All that is actually known of the tune is that 
it was the music to a Latin Christmas hymn (" Adeste 
Fideles "), sung in Roman Catholic chapels throughout 
England as early as the middle of the eighteenth century. 
Our well-known "O Come, All Ye Faithful" (The 
Hymnal, No. 170), is a translation of the hymn to which 
the tune rightly belongs. 

The position which the hymn " How Firm a Founda- 
tion," thus mated to the Christmas tune, has taken among 
us was strikingly illustrated in the late Spanish War. 
The incident is related in The Sunday-School Times for 
December 7th, 1 901, by Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis Guild, 
Jr., late Inspector-General of the Seventh Army Corps. 
The corps was encamped along the hills at Quemados, 
near Havana, Cuba. On Christmas eve of 1898 Colonel 
Guild sat before his tent in the balmy tropical night, 
chatting with a fellow-officer of Christmas and home. 
Suddenly from the camp of the Forty-ninth Iowa rang 
a sentinel's call, " Number ten ; twelve o'clock, and all's 
well !" 

" It was Christmas morning. Scarcely had the cry of 
the sentinel died away, when from the bandsmen's tents 
of that same regiment there rose the music of an old, 
familiar hymn, and one clear baritone voice led the chorus 
that quickly ran along those moonlit fields : ' How firm 
a foundation, ye saints of the Lord!' Another voice 
joined in, and another, and another, and in a moment 
the whole regiment was singing, and then the Sixth 
Missouri joined in, with the Fourth Virginia, and all the 


" rest, till there, on the long ridges above the great city 
whence Spanish tyranny once went forth to enslave the 
New World, a whole American army corps was sing- 
ing :— 

" ' Fear not, I am with thee, O l>e not dismayed; 
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid ; 
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, 
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.' 

" The Northern soldier knew the hymn as one he 
hdd learned beside his mother's knee. To the Southern 
.soldier it was that and something more; it was the 
favorite hymn of General Robert E. Lee, and was sung 
at that great commander's funeral. 

" Protestant and Catholic, South and North, singing 
together on Christmas day in the morning, — that's an 
American army !" 

And if any one has felt a sense of impropriety in 
divorcing the old Christmas music from its proper words, 
surely he may feel that it came to its own again that 
morning. Such an incident, and what it implies, inclines 
one rather to the hope that " How Firm a Foundation " 
may never cease to be sung among us, and that it may 
never be set to any other tune. 


(i) Was Mr. Hastings justified in saying that the ques- 
tion of authorship is now settled in favor of R. Keene ? 

(2) The literary method of this hymn is peculiar, and 
more like that of a homily than of a song. The singer 
addresses his fellow-saints with an assertion that a solid 
foundation for their confident faith is laid in Scripture. 


This he emphasizes by the rhetorical question, Could 
God have promised more? The balance of the hymn is 

simply the citation of his proof-texts. Can you trace in 
the Scriptures these " precious promises " that are quoted 
in the hymn ? 

( 3 ) The last line brings out the impressive repetition 
of negatives in Hebrews xiii. 5 (" I will in no wise let 
thee go ; no, nor will I forsake thee "). In the minds of 
many clergymen who are graduates of Princeton Semi- 
nary, this line is inevitably associated with an incident 
of the last years of its much-beloved theological pro- 
fessor, Dr. Charles Hodge. The tradition still lingers 
there that one evening, in conducting prayers in the 
Oratory, the venerable man, in reading this hymn, which 
he had announced to be sung, was so overcome by his 
emotions that on reaching the last line he could only 
indicate by gestures, keeping time with the rhythm of the 
words, his own appropriation of God's assurance that 
He would never, no, never, no, never forsake the soul 
that hath leaned on Christ. 

The foot-note to this last line of the hymn when it 
originally appeared in Rippon's Selection — " agreeable to 
Dr. Doddridge's Translation of Heb. xii. 5 " (see the 
facsimile) — was one that at the time required no explana- 
tion. The allusion is to the paraphrase of that verse as 
given in The Family Expositor; or a Paraphrase and 
Version of the New Testament, with Critical y,otes and 
Practical Improvements ', by the famous Dr. Philip Dod- 
dridge. This book had won enthusiastic praise not only 
from nonconformists, but from divines and scholars of 
the Church of England, and had already become one of 
the familiar household books of the period. The verse 



in question there reals : " / will not, I will not leave thee, 
I will in ver, never, never forsake thee." It will be noticed 

that the author of the hymn has not only reproduced in 
the last line the tripled "never" of Dr. Doddridge's 
version, but also, in the line immediately preceding, its 
repetition of the " I will not." 




i Lord, with glowing heart I'd praise Thee 

For the bliss Thy love bestows, 
For the pardoning grace that saves me, 

And the peace that from it flows : 
Help, O God, my weak endeavor ; 

This dull soul to rapture raise : 
Thou must light the flame, or never 

Can my love be warmed to praise. 

2 Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee, 

Wretched wanderer, far astray ; 
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee 

From the paths of death away : 
Praise, with love's devoutest feeling, 

Him who saw thy guilt-born fear, 
And, the light of hope revealing, 

Bade the blood-stained cross appear. 

3 Lord, this bosom's ardent feeling 

Vainly would my lips express : 
Low before Thy footstool kneeling, 

Deign Thy suppliant's prayer to bless : 
Let Thy grace, my soul's chief treasure, 

Love's pure flame within me raise ; 
And, since words can never measure. 

Let my life show forth Thy praise. 

Francis Scott Key, 1817 

Note. — The text is taken from Dr. Muhlenberg's Church Poetry, 1823. 




To a patriotic American Christian it is a real satisfac- 
tion to find in the hymn book of his Church a hymn by 
the author of "The Star Spangled Banner." And the 
hymn is not unworthy of its place. A good judge, the 
Rev. Frederick M. Bird, in an essay upon the Hym- 
nology of the Protestant Episcopal Church, called Mr. 
Key's hymn " as memorable a piece of work " as his 
"Star Spangled Banner." "It has," he says, "high 
devotional and fair literary merit, and is endeared to 
many thousands by long associations." There is, no 
doubt, a flavor of an older fashion in the rhetoric of the 
hymn, but its expression of Christian gratitude still rings 
true ; and, as a matter of fact, the use of the hymn is 
more widespread to-day than ever before. 

In 1823 the Rev. Dr. William A. Muhlenberg, after- 
ward famous as the author of " I Would not Live 
Alway," printed a hymn book under the name of Church 
Poct)'v. " Here first (so far as is known) appeared Fran- 
cis S. Key's very genuine hymn, ' Lord, with Glowing 
Heart I'd Praise Thee,' " says Mr. Bird in the essay 
already referred to. Such has been the general belief 
up to this time, and hence in even* hymnal the hymn 
bears the date 1823. But in our present study we shall 
be able to make use of some facts not hitherto known. 

In the autumn of 1900 the writer saw in a New York 
auction catalogue the entry of a copy of this hymn in 
Mr. Key's autograph, which he secured. It is written 
on a half sheet of foolscap and inscribed in the margin, 
" Written by the author, F. Key, for Sylvester Xash." 
Hitherto only three eight-line verses of the hymn had 


been known to hymnologists, as printed in Dr. Muhlen- 
berg's book and always since. Hut the autograph copy 
has an additional verse (or two of four lines each) as 
reproduced in the accompanying facsimile. This was 


the original third verse, preceding the last one as here 

And now, as regards the date. In December of 190 1, 
while having some part in the rearrangement of the 
library of the Presbyterian Historical Society in Phila- 
delphia, the writer took the opportunity of examining 
some old periodicals, on the chance of what he might 
find. Among them were three volumes of The Christian 
Messenger, an unsectarian religious magazine, edited and 
published by Joshua T. Russell, in Baltimore. At page 
288 of the first volume, at the end of the number for 
Saturday September 6th, 18 17, he found the original 


printing of this hymn. It is printed in eight four-line 
verses, and is prefaced by this note : — 

"The following Hymn was eomposed by a gentleman, 
formerly a resident of this city, distinguished for his eminent 
talents and exemplary piety." 

This little discovery changes the accepted date of the 
hymn from 1823 to 18 17. The additional eight lines of 
the manuscript are included in the hymn in the maga- 
zine, and this seems to be the first and last time they 
have been printed until now. Dr. Muhlenberg chose to 
omit them from his hymn book in 1823. And since 
then every one else, even the editor of Mr. Key's poems 
(which were gathered up and published in 1857), seems 
completely to have lost sight of them. 

In 1826 Mr. Key's hymn, in its three-verse form, was 
given a place in the Hymns of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church y and it has retained that place in the hymnals 
from time to time authorized for use in that Church. It 
was introduced to a much wider company when, in 1830, 
the Rev. Joshua Leavitt included it in his very popular 
collection, The Christian Lyre. This was the book the 
light and secular character of whose music caused such 
grief to the heart of Thomas Hastings. Designed for 
revival and social meetings, it found its way into the 
more formal services of many Presb\ r terian churches, as 
a welcome substitute for the authorized psalmody. It 
cannot be said, however, that by this means, or any 
other, Mr. Key's hymn became generally familiar to 
Presbyterians until a much later date. The Presbyterian 
Hymnal of 1874 was the first authorized book to contain 
it. A peculiar feature in the long career of this hymn 
is that so little music should have been composed for it. 


Even now the words can hardly be said to be associated 
with any particular tune. 

The author of the Hymn 

Over the grave of Francis Scott Key, at Frederick, 
Maryland, there was placed in 1898 an impressive 
monument. His figure in bronze stands on a granite 
base. He is represented at the moment of discovery 
that " our flag was still there," his right arm extended 
toward it, and the left waving aloft his hat in an exultant 
salute. It is a striking representation of the way in 
which Mr. Key himself stands before the minds of his 
countrymen. They think of him always as in that atti- 
tude. To them he is always the man who wrote " The 
Star Spangled Banner." The one hour outshines the 
life so much in men's eyes that the life has become 

It is none the less pleasant to know how worthy that 
life was before and after its great event ; to find the 
home life as attractive as the patriotism, to find the grace 
of the gentleman and the earnestness of the Christian at 
one with the gifts of the poet. 

No extended life of Mr. Key has been published, but 
it seems as if (like that editor who put the note before 
his hymn) every one who wrote of him felt called upon 
to praise him. 

Mr. Key was the son of John Ross Key, a man of 
means and high social position, and a self-sacrificing 
patriot of the Revolution ; and was born on his father's 
estate, Terra Rubra, Frederick, Man-land, on August 
1st, 1779. He was educated at St. John's College, 


Annapolis, and in 1802 married the representative of 
another distinguished Maryland family, Mary Tayloe 
Lloyd, whose ancestral home, with its wainscotted draw- 
ing-room, has stood in Annapolis from 1709 until now. 

Mr. Key practiced law in Frederick for some years, 
afterward moving to Georgetown, D. C. For three terms 
he was district attorney of the District of Columbia. As 
a lawyer he seems not to have been given to severe 
studies, but yet competent, with a ready mind full of 
resources and equal to the occasion. He had, too, more 
than a little of the gifts of the orator ; was natural and 
earnest, and easily kindled into passion. In person he 
was slight, and of extraordinary vigor both in mind and 
body; walking, when an elderly man, with the light and 
elastic gait of a boy, and highly charged with electricity 
through his whole system. He was absolutely fearless, 
ardent, impulsive, frank, outspoken ; not without the 
defects of his qualities. Not always recognized by pass- 
ing acquaintances as being all that he was, and yet al- 
ways as being a gentleman. He was cheerful, and liked 
social life and hospitalities, and excelled in bright conver- 
sation. Of real warmth of heart, he loved his friends 
with great loyalty and his family with tender devotion. 

Mr. Key was a member of the Protestant Fpiscopal 
Church, of the type known as Evangelical. He loved 
his own Church, but one who had been his rector (Rev. 
John T. Brooke) has taken pains to record in a Memorial 
Discourse that he " had no sympathy whatever with the 
later attempts of individuals, at different periods, to erect 
high and exclusive fences upon the original peculiarities 
of the church." He was in sympathy with good men 
of every name, and ready to worship and cooperate 


with them. Though burdened with the care of a very 
large family and heavy professional duties, he was habit- 
ually busy in Christian work to a degree that excited the 
wonder of his pastor. Ready to officiate as lay-reader 
when needed, a fervent participant in social meetings for 

prayer, " he found much time to visit the sick, to comfort 
the mourning, to confer with the enquiring, to warn the 
careless ; and he stood ever ready, at a moment's warn- 
ing, to lift his voice in behalf of any of the great public 
charities of the day." 

Mr. Key and his wife were both slave-holders by 


inheritance, but deplored the existence of the institution 
of slaver\-. Mr. Key gave much thought to his own 
negroes, and regularly held Sunday-school fur them ; in 
his neighborhood he was proverbially the colored man's 
friend, their unpaid advocate in the courts, their helper 
in time of trouble. He was among the first to think out 
the scheme of African colonization as the most hopeful 
remedy for a complicated situation. In conneetion with 
his friend Bishop Meade, he traveled much and worked 
hard to promote the cause, to which he became ardently 
devoted. His income was always carefully apportioned 
to provide a fund for his charities, and among his last 
words were his directions where to find and how to 
employ the moneys then on hand for such uses. 

" Good men are crreat blessings to the communitv " — 
it was so that Mr. Key's pastor began the Memorial 
Discourse. "But they must die" — so it continued. 
And though a commonplace, one can understand how 
hard it must have been to apply the phrase to one so 
very much alive as he. Mr. Key died in Baltimore, 
January nth, 1843. In addition to the monument over 
his grave erected by popular subscription, a statue of 
him also stands in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 
provided by the will of James Lick, the California 

But his song is his monument. Toward the end of the 
War of 1812 he learned that a friend and neighbor had 
been taken from his home by the British forces and was 
held as a prisoner on board the admiral's ship. He at 
once determined to intercede for his friend's release, and 
secured from the government such papers as were neces- 
sary to his purpose. Visiting the squadron of the British 


on the Potomac under a flag of truce, that summer day 
in 1814, he was detained under guard, for an attack on 
Baltimore was just about to begin. Anxiously he paced 
the deck through the long night of the bombardment 
until he caught the dawn's early light on the flag still 
waving over Fort McHenry. The attack had failed. 
He was released with the song in his heart, and most of 
it roughly drafted on the back of a letter before he 
reached the shore. The next day it was printed on 
handbills, and men were singing it, as they have been 
ever since. 


(1) The first would seem to be in regard to the value 
of the newly found lines, — as to whether they are a real 
addition to the hymn. It will be noticed that in the 
second verse (keeping to the eight-line form of each 
verse) the poet recites the acts of divine love calculated 
to raise the dull soul to a rapture of gratitude. But 
that verse stops with the appearing of the cross. The 
newly found verse (as the third) celebrates the Saviour's 
drawing the sinner to that cross, the call of His gospel, 
the gifts of His pardon and His peace. Do not these 
things add to the grounds of praise ? Can they be 
omitted without loss to the hymn ? 

(2) We have now three texts of the hymn where we 
had only one, and the opportunity, always interesting, of 
comparing them. They are the text in the magazine, 
that of the autograph, and the usual text as here printed. 

The first verse is precisely the same in all three texts. 

The second verse is identical in the autograph copy 

and in the usual text. But we have to choose between 


their reading of the seventh line, " the light of hope," 
and that of the magazine, " the light of life." 

Of the newly found third verse there are only two 
texts. That of the autograph copy is before us; that 
of the magazine reads (the differences are italicized) : — 

" Praise thy Saviour Lord, that drew thee 

To that cross, new life to give — 

CalVd a guilt- stain* d sinner to thee ! 

Bade thee look to him and live ! 

" Proise the grace whose threats alarm' d thee! 
Rous' d thee from thy fatal ease ! 
Praise the grace whose pardon sav\i thee ! 
Praise the grace that whisper' d peace !" 

The last verse in the autograph copy has only one 
word different from the usual text here printed ; its fifth 
line reading, " Let thy love " instead of " Let thy grace." 
But in the magazine the verse reads : — 

" Lord, this bosom's ardent feeling, 
Vainly would my tongue express ! 
Low before thy footstool kneeling, 
Deign thy suppliant's prayer to bless! 

" Let thy love, my heart' s best treasure, 
Ever bind tne to thy ways ! 
Let me ever seek thy pleasure / 
Let me ever lisp thy praise!'' 

If the writer were to venture a guess as to the history 
of the three texts it would be that the magazine has the 
hymn as originally written ; that Mr. Key afterward 
saw that the line, " Call'd a guilt-stain'd sinner to thee !" 
in the newly found verse, and the lack of rhyme between 
" alarm'd thee " and " sav'd thee," needed correction, and 


the close of the hymn needed strengthening; so that he 
changed the hymn to the form seen in the autograph 

copy; and that the omission of the third verse and the 
single change that marks the usual text as here printed 
were made by Dr. Muhlenberg. If the writer were 
editing a hymn book to-day he should print this hymn 
precisely as in Mr. Key's autograph copy. 

NOTE. — Since making the statement on page 54 concerning the appear- 
ance of the hymn in its four-verse form, I have discovered a 
second printing in that form in The Washington Theological 
Repertory for December, 1819. page 151. The hymn is headed 
" For The Repertory," as though making its first appearance. 




i From Greenland's icy mountains, 

From India's coral strand, 
Where Afric's sunny fountains 

Roll down their golden sand, 
From many an ancient river, 

From many a palmy plain, 
They call us to deliver 

Their land from error's chain. 

2 What though the spicy breezes 

Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle ; 
Though every prospect pleases, 

And only man is vile : 
In vain with lavish kindness 

The gifts of God are strown ; 
The heathen in his blindness 

Bows down to wood and stone. 

3 Can we, whose souls are lighted 

With wisdom from on high, 
Can we to men benighted 

The lamp of life deny ? 
Salvation ! O salvation ! 

The joyful sound proclaim, 
Till each remotest nation 

Has learned Messiah's Name. 



4 Waft, waft, ye winds, His story, 
And you, ye waters, roll, 
Till like a sea of glory 

It spreads from pole to pole ; 
Till o'er our ransomed nature 
The Lamb for sinners slain, 
Redeemer, King, Creator, 
In bliss returns to reign. 

Rev. Reginald Heber, 1819 

NOTE. — The text is that of Bishop Heber's manuscript. 

The Story of the hymn 

In February, 1 8 19, a royal letter was issued authorizing 
a special offering for foreign missions in all churches and 
chapels of Great Britain. Whitsunday of that year fell 
on the 30th of May, and Dr. Shipley, dean of St. Asaph, 
appointed the morning of that day for making the offer- 
ing in the parish church of Wrexham, of which he was 
the vicar. It happened that he had also arranged for a 
course of Sunday-evening lectures in his church to begin 
that same day. His son-in-law, the Rev. Reginald Heber, 
had come to Wrexham to deliver the opening lecture. 

In those days the singing of hymns was not authorized 
in the Church of England, but they had pushed in, none 
the less. Heber remarks in one of his letters that 
" hardly a collection is made for charitable purposes 
without a hymn for the occasion." But missionary 
hymns were not then so numerous as now, and the vicar 
seems to have been at a loss for one to sing in connection 
with the next day's collection. Vet he had a poet for a 
son-in-law, and the son-in-law was in the house ; and it 
occurred to him that a new hymn might be secured for 
the occasion. For our knowledge of just what happened 


we are dependent upon a printed statement of Thomas 
Edgworth, a solicitor of Wrexham. " In the course of 
the Saturday previous," Mr. Edgworth says, " the dean 
and his son-in-law being together in the vicarage, the 
former requested Heber to ' write something for them to 
sing in the morning ' ; and he retired for that purpose 
from the table where the dean and a few friends wen 
sitting, to a distant part of the room. In a short time 

TvU**-* tfAi^i/, fC***^ /vx***£'a++L4 
/?*& *£cW 4£^r- &r£&~> J**3, 

'Z'/U*^ C****0 jfiv^S t^HST? &U*l*~J 



"the dean inquired, ' What have you written?' Hcber, 
having then composed the first three verses, read them 
over. ' There, there, that will do very well,' said the 
dean. ' No, no, the sense is not complete,' replied Hc- 
ber. Accordingly he added the fourth verse, and the 
dean being inexorable to his repeated request of 4 Let 
me add another, O let me add another,' thus completed 
the hymn . . . which has since become so celebrated. 
It was sung the next morning in Wrexham Church, the 
first time." Tradition says it was sung to the old ballad 
tune, " 'Twas when the Seas were Roaring." 

The hymn had been set up and printed that Saturday 
evening, to be ready for the use of the congregation. 
The original manuscript which served as " copy " was 
happily preserved, bearing the scar made by the copy- 
hook on which it had been impaled. It was exhibited 
in 185 i at the World's Exhibition in London. It passed 
into the possession of Dr. Thomas Raffles, of Liverpool, 
at one time a hymn writer of some reputation, and also 
an enthusiastic collector of autographs. When his col- 
lection came to be sold, it excited much competition, 
and brought forty-two pounds, — a larger sum than the 
amount of that missionary collection at Wrexham 

Heber's hymn made its way quickly. Just after his 
appointment as Bishop of Calcutta brought him into 
general notice, a correspondent sent to The Christian 
Observer a copy of the hymn with a letter calling atten- 
tion to it as written by the new bishop. The hymn and 
letter appeared in the number for February, 1823, and as 
an edition of the magazine was reprinted in the United 
States, it made the hymn known in both countries. On 


that account the letter is worth reproducing here. It is 
hardly less interesting on its own account as a perfect 
specimen of that still familiar type of appreciation which 
is no less self-conscious than it is generous, and also of 
a rhetoric as stilted as the patronage. 

" To the Editor of /lie Christian Observer. 

"The following missionary hymn is so beautiful, considered 
as poetry, and so honourable as the effusion of a Christian 
mind, that I should request its insertion in your pages, even 
if it were not the production of a writer whose devout and 
elevated muse justly obtained your labours [referring to an 
earlier review of Heber's Palcsti)ie\ ; whose name has since 
been often mentioned in your pages with high respect ; and 
whose appointment, to a most important station in the church 
of Christ, you have recently announced with a pleasure which 
is shared by all who have at heart the moral and spiritual wel- 
fare of our numerous fellow-subjects, native and European, in 
the East. The hymn having appeared some time since in 
print with the name of Reginald Heber annexed, I can feel 
no scruple in annexing that name to it on the present occa- 
sion. There is nothing, either in the sentiments or the poetry, 
but what does honour to the now Right Reverend prelate, 
while it must delight every Christian mind to witness such 
devout ardour for the extension of 'Messiah's Name,' in a 
station so eminently important for giving effect to that desire 
in all those measures which Christian piety, meekness, and 
prudence may suggest. J." 

The best service performed by this euphonious patron 
lay in the fact that his letter brought the hymn to the 
attention of Miss Mary W. Howard, of Savannah, 
Georgia. She saw the possibilities of Bishop Heber's 


hymn, but knew of no suitable tune that would carry 
the words, written as they were in a metre not then much 
used in hymns. Lowell Mason was at the time a bank 
clerk in the same town ; but he had already begun the 
musical career which was to bring him fame and do so 
much for congregational singing. Boston was destined 
to be the scene of his more conspicuous labors, but 
already in Savannah he was teaching a singing-school 
and leading a choir, and the year before he had published 
the pioneer of his long line of tune books. To him 
Miss Howard brought the words of this hymn, and he 
wrote for it his now famous tune, Missionary Hymn, and 
printed it as sheet music, with the legend, " Composed 
for and Dedicated to Miss Mary W. Howard, of Savannah, 
Georgia." The effect of Mason's tune has been to make 
" From Greenland's Icy Mountains " the inevitable hymn 
for all missionary occasions in this country ; and in Eng- 
land, even to this day, the tune is frequently heard in 
churches where music of the severer type known as 
Anglican has come to prevail. 

The author of the Hymn 

When Thackeray, in his Four Georges, had grown 
wean r of flinging his darts at the padded figure of the 
First Gentleman of Europe, he turned to "tell of better 
gentlemen " of the reign of George IV. ; among others 
of " the good divine, Reginald Heber, as one of the best 
of English gentlemen, — the charming poet, the happy 
possessor of all sorts of gifts and accomplishments, birth, 
wit, fame, high character, competence." 

Reginald Heber was born April 21st, 1783, at Malpas, 
of which parish his father was rector. He wrote verses 



from' childhood, and in 1800, his first year at Oxford, 
gained a prize for the best Latin verse. Three years 
later, he won the Newdigate prize by his " Palestine," 
one of the few college prize poems that have taken a 

y^_^ Ju^-^ 

place in literature. Sir Walter Scott wrote in his 
Journal, March 12th, 1829: "Read Reginald Heber's 
journal after dinner. I spent some merry days with 
him at Oxford when he was writing his prize poem. He 


" was then a gay young fellow, a wit and a satirist, and 
burning for literary fame. My laurels were beginning to 
bloom, and we were both madcaps. Who would have 
foretold our future lot?" 

In 1804 Heber took his degree, spending two years in 
travel on the Continent. Ordained in 1807, he was pre- 
sented by his brother with the family living of Hodnet. 
He soon married, and for sixteen years remained the 
faithful friend of his people in what he called a halfway 
situation between a parson and a squire. Of the beauti- 
ful home-life at Hodnet rectory, and the pain of break- 
ing it up when the call to India came, we catch some 
glimpses in the second chapter of Augustus Hare's 
Memorials of a Quiet Life. Always faithful to parish 
duties, Heber was ardently devoted to literary pursuits. 
Besides his poems, he did much editorial work, and was 
one of the original staff of writers on the famous Quar- 
terly Review. He wrote also a life of Jeremy Taylor, 
and edited an edition of Taylor's Complete Works 
which is still the best. He held, too, a place of his own 
in the literary society of the time. But his literary 
career came to an end with his call to India when he 
was only forty years of age. 

While at Hodnet many honors came to him, for all 
men admired him. While still a young man he was the 
Bampton lecturer at Oxford, and in 1822 was elected 
preacher of Lincoln's Inn, London. When forty years 
old he was offered the appointment of Bishop of Cal- 
cutta. Twice he refused for the sake of wife and child ; 
but he had much of the missionary spirit and an especial 
fondness for India, and he finally accepted the call as 
from God. On June 16th, 1823, he sailed for the new 


home, and never again was to see the old. He began 
at once the visitation of his vast diocese, which included 
all India, Ceylon, the Mauritius, and Australasia. His 
abilities and enthusiastic labors made a great mark upon 
the diocese, but his administration was very brief. 
Returning from a service at Trichinopoly, on April 3rd, 
KS26, he retired to take a cold bath, and half an hour 
afterward was found dead in his room by a servant. 

In politics Bishop Heber was a Tory, in theology an 
Arminian, in religious views a High Churchman. But 
all his opinions were subject to the law of charity. He 
entered into no controversy, and was warmly loved for 
his beautiful character, his religious enthusiasm, and his 
engaging ways. 

His attention was turned to hymn writing by the 
unsatisfactory state of psalmody in the Church of Eng- 
land. Clergy and people had wearied of metrical, psalm 
versions, and although hymns had never been author- 
ized, insisted on using them in church. Heber was 
ambitious to write hymns that should win the sanction 
of the authorities and make part of an authorized 
hymnal. But the authorities counseled delay, and his 
hymn book was first published by his widow in 1827, as 
" Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Church 
Service of the Year." It contained fifty-seven of Heber 's 
hymns. A considerable number of these had been 
printed by him in The Christian Observer between the 
years 181 1 and 18 16. Most of the others first saw the 
light when his hymn book came to be printed. To this 
hymn book there will be occasion to recur in studying 
a hymn of Dean Milman. Heber is perhaps the only 
extensive hymn writer in the language of whom it may 


be said that every hymn he wrote has come into actual 


Some points for Discussion 

(i) What did the author mean when he insisted on 
writing a fourth verse because the sense was not com- 
plete without it; just what, in other words, does that 
verse add to the structure or thought of the hymn ? 

(2) In The Hymnal (and here) the hymn is printed as 
originally written. Bishop Heber's allusion in the second 
verse to the spicy breezes from Ceylon is both explained 
and illustrated by a passage in his Journal of a Voyage 
to India, where, under the date of September, 1823, he 
writes : " Though we were now too far off Ceylon to 
catch the odors of the land, yet it is, we are assured, per- 
fectly true that such odors are perceptible to a very con- 
siderable distance. In the Straits of Malacca a smell 
like that of a hawthorn hedge is commonly experienced; 
and from Ceylon, at thirty or forty miles, under certain 
circumstances, a yet more agreeable scent is inhaled." 
In spite, however, of Bishop Heber's confirmation of the 
appropriateness of his earlier allusion to Ceylon, it 
remains true that when his hymns came to be printed in 
1827 by his widow, the passage in question was made to 
read : — 

" What though the spicy breezes 
Blow soft o'er Java's isle ;" — 

No explanation of the change has ever been made. 

In many hymn books the word " each " in the seventh 
line of the third verse is changed to " earth's." Is there 
any good reason for either change ? 


(3) The non-Christian religions are now regarded with 
a more sympathetic feeling than in Bishop Heber's time. 
Has the growth of this feeling had any effect upon our 
estimate of the appropriateness and usefulness of this 
hymn ? Compare it in this respect with Bishop Coxe's 
missionary hymn, "Saviour, Sprinkle Many Nations" 
(The Ilynnial, No. 399). 

(4) Bishop Heber lived at a time when English lyrical 
poetry had a great development under Walter Scott, 
Byron, and others. His aim in writing hymns was to 
get something of this new lyrical grace and charm into 
the hymns of the Church. Of his original hymns there 
are nine in The Hymnal (see its Index of Authors). Do 
they show that he succeeded in his purpose ? One of 
them Lord Tennyson thought the greatest hymn in the 
language. In the opinion of others Heber's style was 
somewhat too ornate and flowing for hymn writing. 

(5) The hymns of the Church may be called the 
flowers of the Church's history. The hymns of any 
epoch grow out of the spiritual life of that epoch, and 
express its best thought and feeling. Of this Bishop 
Heber's hymn is an example. The hymn itself is the 
outgrowth of that missionary movement in England 
whose influences had surrounded him while growing up. 
The movement arose with the bejnnnincr of the nine- 
teenth century. The Baptist Missionary Society was 
founded in 1792, the London Missionary Society in 
1795 ; within the Church of England an active Society 
for Missions to Africa was started in 1799, and the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel began a new 
career with the new century. It was only in 181 3 that 
the obstacles to missionary work in Heber's beloved India 


were overcome and the way declared open by Parlia- 
ment. The aroused conscience and quickened pulse of 
England have a witness in this and other hymns of the 
time. And is it not somewhat surprising that the increased 
missionary enthusiasm of the latter part of the century 
did not more freely embody itself in hymns that should 
gain the ear and heart of the Church? The new mis- 
sionary literature has attained great proportions, but in 
it all hymnody plays a rather inconspicuous part. Yet 
there would seem to be room in our hymnals for fresh 
missionary hymns ; and without increasing the size of 
the books, from which, one would think, some few of the 
more prosaic hymns on that theme might go without 
serious loss. 



The Text of the Hymn 

My faith looks up to Thee, 
Thou Lamb of Calvary, 

Saviour Divine : 
Now hear me while I pray, 
Take all my guilt away, 
O let me from this day 

Be wholly Thine. 

May Thy rich grace impart 
Strength to my fainting heart, 

My zeal inspire ; 
As Thou hast died for me, 
O may my love to Thee 
Pure, warm, and changeless be, 

A living fire. 

While life's dark maze I tread, 
And griefs around me spread, 

Be Thou my Guide ; 
Bid darkness turn to day, 
Wipe sorrow's tears away, 
Nor let me ever stray 

From Thee aside. 



4 When ends life's transient dream, 
When death's cold, sullen stream 

Shall o'er me roll, 
Blest Saviour, then, in love, 
Fear and distrust remove ; 
O bear me safe above, 
A ransomed soul. 

Ray Palmer, 1830 

Note. — The text is taken from his Hymns and Sacred Pieces, 1865. As 
regards a different reading in the original printing of the hymn, 
see under " Some Points for Discussion,'' (3). 


" Look in thy heart, and write," said the muse to Sir 
Philip Sidney : and no language could reveal more clearly 
the source of this hymn. Its words " were born of my 
own soul," the author said long afterward to Dr. Cuyler. 
It becomes at once evident, therefore, that we must be 
altogether dependent upon such disclosures as the author 
chose to make for any real knowledge of the origin of 
the hymn. Happily for us the publication of inaccurate 
and apocryphal accounts of the matter (already alluded 
to in the preface to this book), together with a wish to 
escape from " the necessity of replying to letters of 
inquiry which have been received in inconvenient num- 
bers," led Dr. Palmer (in an appendix to his Poetical 
Works, 1876) to narrate the circumstances and experience 
out of which the hymn arose : 

" Immediately after graduating at Vale College, in 
September, 1830, the writer went to the city o( New 
York, by previous engagement, to spend a year in teach- 
ing for two or three hours each day in a select school 
for young ladies. This private institution, which was 
patronized by the best class of families, was under the 


" direction of an excellent Christian lady connected with 
St. George's Church, the rector of which was then the 
good Dr. James Milnor. It was in Fulton Street, west 
of Broadway, and a little below Church Street on the 
south side of the way. That whole section of the city, 
now covered with immense stores and crowded with 
business, was then occupied by genteel residences. The 
writer resided in the family of the lady who kept the 
school, and it was there that the hymn was written. 

" It had no external occasion whatever. Having been 
accustomed almost from childhood, through an inherited 
propensity perhaps, to the occasional expression of what 
his heart felt in the form of verse, it was in accordance 
with this habit, and in an hour when Christ, in the riches 
of His grace and love, was so vividly apprehended as to 
fill the soul with deep emotion, that the piece was com- 
posed. There was not the slightest thought of writing 
for another eye, least of all of writing a hymn for Chris- 
tian worship. Away from outward excitement, in the 
quiet of his chamber, and with a deep consciousness of 
his own needs, the writer transferred as faithfully as he 
could to paper what at the time was passing within him. 
Six stanzas were composed, and imperfectly written, first 
on a loose sheet, and then accurately copied into a small 
morocco-covered book, which for such purposes the 
author was accustomed to carry in his pocket. This 
first complete copy is still — 1875 — preserved. It is well 
remembered that when writing the last line, ' A ransomed 
soul,' the thought that the whole work of redemption 
and salvation was involved in those words, and sucro-ested 
the theme of eternal praises, moved the writer to a degree 
of emotion that brought abundant tears. 



" A year or two after the hymn was written, and when 
no one, so far as can be recollected, had ever seen it, Dr. 
Lowell Mason met the author in the street in Boston, 
and requested him to furnish some hymns for a Hymn 
and Tune Hook which, in connection with Dr. Hastings 
of New York, he was about to publish. The little book 
containing it was shown him, and he asked a copy. We 
stepped into a store together, and a copy was made and 
given him, which without much notice he put in his 
pocket. On sitting down at home and looking it over, 
he became so much interested in it that he wrote for it 
the tune ' Olivet,' in which it has almost universally been 
sung. Two or three days afterward we met again in the 
street, when, scarcely waiting to salute the writer, he 
earnestly exclaimed, ' Mr. Palmer, you may live many 
years and do many good things, but I think you will be 
best known to posterity as the author of " My Faith 
Looks L T p to Thee." ' " 

The hymn and tune book referred to by Dr. Palmer, 
in which the hymn first appeared, came out in twelve 
parts in 1831-32, and was called Sfii-itual Songs for 
Social }}\)rsliip. Numerous editions of the book were 
printed ; before long the hymn and its tune became 
widely sung and began to be copied into other books. 
In 1842 it was introduced into England through the 
Rev. Andrew Reed's Hymn Book. The hymn is to-day 
among those most familiar in evangelical churches of 
both countries. The statement often made that it now 
appears in every hymn book is, of course, not true. 
That is not true of any hymn. But it is as well known 
and as well loved as any American hymn. It seems to 
many people like a part of their own spiritual life. 


Crfi^eC /nru^t y^U^^f 

r^"V '(//Z-C&Zte^. 




Ray Palmer was the son of the Hon. Thomas Palmer 
of Little Compton, Rhode Island, and was born at that 
place on November 12th, 1808. In his thirteenth year 
he became clerk in a dry-goods store at Boston, and 
while there he connected himself with the Park Street 
Church. His thoughts turned toward the ministry, and 
he spent three years preparing for college at Phillips 
Academy, Andover, and in 1830 was graduated from 
Vale. Then came the years of teaching and of prepara- 
tion for the ministry, first at New York and afterward at 
New Haven. He was ordained in 1835, becoming pastor 
of the Central Congregational Church of Bath, Maine, 
where he remained until 1850. From then until 1866 he 
was pastor of the First Congregational Church of Albany, 
New York. In 1866 he became the Corresponding 
Secretary of the American Congregational Union, re- 
moving to New York City, and holding that laborious 
post until 1 S/8. He resigned his secretaryship in that 
year and had already removed to Newark, New Jersey. 

The real occasion of this resignation was the failure 
of Dr. Palmer's health. He suffered from a nervous 
affection causing an uncertainty, at times even a stagger, 
in his walk. But for some years after giving up his 
work in New York he continued in active service in 
connection with the Belleville Avenue Congregational 
Church, of Newark. By a unique arrangement Dr. 
Palmer became its " pastor," having especial charge o( 
visiting the people ; while Dr. George H. Hepworth was 
its "preacher," and Dr. William Hayes Ward its "super- 
intendent of mission work." At Newark, in 1882, Dr. 


Palmer gathered about him a distinguished and affec- 
tionate company to celebrate the golden anniversary 
of his wedding to Miss Ann M. Ward, of New York. 
But the warning of his approaching end soon followed. 
He died at Newark on March 29th, 1887. 

Dr. Palmer was the author of a number of books. 
His prose writings were generally of a devotional char- 
acter, but included Hints on the Formation of Religious 
Opinions (i860), of which several editions were printed. 
His hymns and other verse appeared in successive 
volumes: Hymns and Sacred Pieces (1865), Hymns of 
My Holy Hours (1868), Home, or the Unlost Paradise 
(1868), Complete Poetical Works (1876), and Voices of 
Hope and Gladness (188 1). Dr. Palmer's poetical work 
was voluminous enough to fill an 8vo volume of more 
than three hundred and fifty pages. It is always pure 
and often graceful, and written in easily flowing verse, 
but the body of his miscellaneous poetry does not attain 
such elevation of thought or distinction of form as would 
recommend it to the student of literature. 

In estimating his poetry it is only fair to remember 
that Dr. Palmer's life " for more than forty years was 
unremittingly devoted to the absorbing duties of a Chris- 
tian minister, and for more than three-fourths of this 
period to the manifold labors of a city Pastor. Poetry, 
instead of filling any prominent place in the programme 
of his life, has been only the occupation of the few occa- 
sional moments that could be redeemed from severer, 
and generally very prosaic, forms of work." 

When we turn from the miscellaneous poetry to the 
hymns, we have a different situation and a happier result. 
There was nothing in Dr. Palmer's circumstances to 


interfere with the production of hymns. They were 
quite in line with his thought and work. And the 
hymn-form furnished precisely the medium through 
which his purely devotional spirit and gift for graceful 
verse could find their most spontaneous expression. It is 
among the hymn writers that Dr. Palmer finds his proper 
place, and by many he is considered to be the foremost 
hymn writer of America. He is distinguished not only 
for the excellence of his best hymns, but for the number 
of his hymns that are in all ways good. And to them 
must he added his translations of Latin hymns, in which 
he was especially successful. Several of his hymns are 
favorites ; and yet what Lowell Mason prophesied has 
come to pass, and Dr. Palmer is best known as the 
author of " My Faith Looks Up to Thee." 

Dr. Palmer's character corresponded to his hymns. 
One who knew him well has recently spoken of him to 
the present writer as " One of the loveliest of men. 
He was exceedingly agreeable in conversation, which 
had always a spiritual tone," the same friend went on to 
say. " There was a certain saintliness in his manner and 
personality. He was gentle in his ways of speech, but 
had very deep feelings, which often came to the surface 
in conversation. His religious character was never 
better illustrated than when he was drawn out to speak 
of his famous hymn : the usual egotism of an author 
was so overcome by a feeling of simple gratitude for 
what the hymn had accomplished." 

Dr. Palmer's portrait illustrates the description of his 
personal appearance given by his friend Dr. Theodore 
Cuyler (in Recollections of a Long Life') : " He was short 
in stature, but his erect form and habit of brushing 

.i/)' Firm looks rr to thee 



" his hair high over his forehead gave him a command- 
ing look. He was the impersonation of genuine en- 


(i) In the story of the hymn the point that appeals 
to the imagination is the carrying for so long in the 
young man's pocket of that single copy, unknown, un- 
read, of the hymn now so familiar. Almost as appealing 
is the record of another copy of the hymn that came to 
Dr. Palmer's knowledge. It was made in camp the 
evening before one of the great battles of the Civil War. 
Six or eight young Christian soldiers had met for prayer 
in one of the tents. They could not all expect to sur- 
vive the battle. One suggested that they draw up a 
paper expressive of the spirit in which they faced death, 


and that all sign it for a testimony to the friends of such 
as should fall. Talking over the form of the paper, it was 
agreed that the hymn " My Faith Looks Up to Thee" 
be written out in full ; and to this each one of them 
signed his name. What caused this particular hymn to 
be chosen for such a purpose? and just what message 
did that paper bring to the relatives of those that fell in 
battle the next day ? 

(2) Dr. Palmer explained the success of his hymn by 
saving that it embodied " in appropriate and simple 
language that which is most central in all true Christian 
experience — the act of faith in the divine Redeemer — the 
intrusting of the individual soul to Him entirely and 
for ever." But this explanation would apply just as well 
to a prose statement as to a hymn. Must there not be 
poetic feeling as well as spiritual truth in a good hymn ? 
What are the special poetic merits of this hymn ? 

(3) The hymn has seldom suffered from alterations at 
the hands of editors. Dr. Palmer complained of a com- 
piler who substituted " distress " for " distrust," in the 
last verse. He much preferred " distrust," as applying 
more to the soul, to " distress," as suggesting bodily 
sensations. But what he seems to have forgotten is 
that the word was originally printed " distress " when 
the hymn first appeared in Dr. Mason's hymn book ; 
being changed to " distrust " only in the later editions. 
It would be interesting to examine the small morocco- 
covered book to see what word was originally written. 
But is there any question that Dr. Palmer was right in 
insisting on " distrust " ? Notice his choice of words 
throughout. Could the hymn be improved by substi- 
tuting others at any point ? 



The Text of the hymn 

i Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, 

Lead Thou me on ; 
The night is dark, and I am far from home ; 

Lead Thou me on : 
Keep Thou my feet ; I do not ask to see 
The distant scene,— one step enough for me. 

2 I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou 

Shouldst lead me on ; 
I loved to choose and see my path ; but now 

Lead Thou me on. 
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, 
Pride ruled my will : remember not past years. 

3 So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still 

Will lead me on 
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till 

The night is gone ; 
And with the morn those angel faces smile, 
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile. 

Rev. (afterward Cardinal John Henry Newman, 1833 

Note. — The text is taken from Newman's Verses on Various Occasions, 
1867 ; and agrees with that in Lyra Apostolica. 




This much-loved hymn is always spoken of as having 
been written by Cardinal Newman, and the fact that 
Protestants love to sing it is used to show the real unity 
of Christians, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant. 
Hut as a matter of fact the hymn was not written by 
Cardinal Newman, nor even by a Roman Catholic. It 
was written by the Rev. John Henry Newman, a young 
clergyman of the Church of England, twelve years 
before he went into the Church of Rome ; and at a time 
when, as he himself tells us, he had no thought of leav- 
ing the Church of England. Indeed, Cardinal Newman 
said in 1882 to Lord Ronald Gower (who reports it in 
his Old Diaries) that the hymn did not represent his 
feeling at that time. " For we Catholics " he said, with 
a quiet smile, " believe we have found the light." 

The hymn is so much a part of its author's life that 
the story of his hymn and of his life must be told to- 
gether. The son of John Newman, a London banker, 
he was born, on February 21st, 1801, within sound of 
Bow Bells. He was an imaginative boy, and so super- 
stitious that he used constantly to cross himself on going 
into the dark. He never could explain what started him 
in such a practice, for his surroundings were those of 
Evangelical Protestantism, and his own beliefs were Cal- 
vinistic, including the opinion that the Pope was anti- 
Christ. At his conversion, when fifteen years old, his 
mind became filled with that sense of communion with 
God which possessed him all his life, and made outward 
things seem as nothing to him. A curious imagination 
took hold of him at the same time that it was God's 



will that he should live a single life. This feeling never 
left him. 

Newman went up to Oxford, and was graduated from 
Trinity College in 1820 ; remaining there first as a fellow, 
and then as a tutor, of Oriel. In 1824 he was ordained, 
and in 1828 was appointed vicar of St. Man's Church, at 


Oxford. Then he began to preach those sermons which 
had so extraordinary an influence, and are thought by 
many the greatest of the century. Meantime his re- 
ligious opinions were gradually changing under those 
High Church influences at Oxford which had their be- 
ginnings in Keble's Christian Year. Especially marked 


was the influence of his friend and fellow tutor, Hurrell 
Froude. Froude changed Newman's hostility to the 
Church of Rome to deep admiration, and taught him to 
look upon the Reformation as a mistake. " He fixed 
deep in me," says Newman, " the idea of devotion to the 
Blessed Virgin, and he led me gradually to believe in 
the Real Presence." 

To this period of change and unrest the hymn be- 
longs. The anxieties that lay behind it and the circum- 
stances out of which it sprang are fully narrated in New- 
man's fascinating Apologia pro Vita Suo ; and certainly no 
one would care to learn of them from any other source : 

" While I was engaged in writing my work upon the 
Arians great events were happening at home, which 
brought out into form and passionate expression the 
various beliefs which had so gradually been winning 
their way into my mind. . . . The great Reform agitation 
was going on around me as I wrote. The Whigs had 
come into power; Lord Grey had told the Bishops to 
set their house in order, and some of the Prelates had 
been insulted and threatened in the streets of London. 
The vital question was, how were we to keep the Church 
from being liberalized ? there was such apathy on the 
subject in some quarters, such imbecile alarm in others ; 
the true principles of Churchmanship seemed so radically 
decayed, and there was such distraction in the councils 
of the Clergy. . . . With the Establishment thus divided 
and threatened, thus ignorant of its true strength, I 
compared that fresh vigorous Power of which I was 
reading in the first centuries. ... I said to myself, 
' Look on this picture and on that ' ; I felt dismay at 
her prospects, anger and scorn at her do-nothing per- 


" plexity. I thought that if Liberalism once got a footing 
within her, it was sure of the victory in the event. I 
saw that Reformation principles were powerless to rescue 
her. As to leaving her, the thought never crossed my 
imagination ; still I ever kept before me that there was 
something greater than the Established Church, and that 
was the Church Catholic and Apostolic, set up from the 
beginning, of which she was but the local presence and 
the organ. She was nothing unless she was this. She 
must be dealt with strongly or she would be lost. 
There was need of a second reformation. 

" At this time I was disengaged from college duties, 
and my health had suffered from the labor involved in 
the composition of my Volume. ... I was easily per- 
suaded to join Hurrell Froude and his Father, who were 
going to the south of Europe for the health of the 

"We set out in December, 1832. . . . I went to vari- 
ous coasts of the Mediterranean ; parted with my friends 
at Rome ; went down for the second time to Sicily with- 
out companion, at the end of April ; . . . the strange- 
ness of foreign life threw me back into myself. . . . 
England was in my thoughts solely, and the news from 
England came rarely and imperfectly. The bill for the 
Suppression of the Irish Sees was in progress, and filled 
my mind. ... It was the success of the Liberal cause 
which fretted me inwardly. . . . 

" Especially when I was left by myself, the thought came 
upon me that deliverance is wrought not by the many 
but by the few, not by bodies but by persons. ... I 
began to think that I had a mission. . . . When we took 
leave of Monsignore Wiseman, he had courteously ex- 


" pressed a wish that we might make a second visit to 
Rome ; I said with great gravity, ' We have a work to 
do in England.' I went down at once to Sicily, and the 
presentiment grew stronger. I struck into the middle 
of the island, and fell ill of a fever in Leonforte. My 
servant thought I was dying, and begged for my last 
directions. I gave them, as he wished ; but I said, ' I 
shall not die.' I repeated, ' I shall not die, for I have 
not sinned against light, I have not sinned against light.' 
I have never been able quite to make out what I meant. 

" I got to Castro-Giovanni, and was laid up there for 
nearly three weeks. Towards the end of May I left for 
Palermo, taking three days for the journey. Before 
starting from my inn in the morning of May 26th or 27th, 
I sat down on my bed and began to sob violently. My 
servant, who had acted as my nurse, asked what ailed 
me. I could only answer him, ' I have a work to do in 

" I was aching to get home ; yet for want of a vessel 
I was kept at Palermo for three weeks. I began to visit 
the Churches, and they calmed my impatience, though I 
did not attend any services. ... At last I got off in an 
oransre boat, bound for Marseilles. Then it was that I 
wrote the lines, ' Lead, kindly light,' which have since 
become well known. We were becalmed a whole week 
in the Straits of Bonifacio. I was writing verses the 
whole time of my passage. At length I got to Mar- 
seilles, and set off for England." 

We can now understand the hymn. We can see into 
the shadows that encircled him who wrote it, — the sick- 
ness and depression, the loneliness, the dark thoughts of 
the Church he still clung to. We know his sense of being 


called by God to do a work at home without seeing what 
its end might be. We hear his answer to the call in his 
renunciation of all pride of leadership into God's hands, 
his cry for only light enough to see one step ahead, his 
confidence that God will find his path. " For years," 
Newman said in another connection, " I must have had 
something of an habitual notion, though it was latent, 
and had never led me to distrust my own convictions, 
that my mind had not found its ultimate rest, and that in 
some sense or other I was on journey. During the 
same passage across the Mediterranean in which I wrote 
1 Lead kindly light,' I also wrote the verses which are 


found in the Lyra under the head of ' Providences,' 
beginning ' When I look back.' This was in 1833 ; and, 
since I have begun this narrative, I have found a memo- 
randum under the date of September 7th, 1829, in which 
I speak of myself as ' now in my rooms in Oriel College, 
slowly advancing, &c, and led on by God's hand blindly, 
not knowing whither He is taking me.' " 


The date of the hymn is June iGth, 1833. On the 
Sunday following Newman's return from his southern 
trip it happened that Mr. Keble preached at Oxford his 
famous sermon on " The National Apostasy." " I have 
ever considered and kept the day," Newman says, " as 
the start of the religious movement of 1833." 

Newman had returned in time to become the centre 
of that very powerful movement to undo the work of 
the Reformation in England. But he grew so much out 
of sympathy with all that Protestantism stands for, that, 
in 1845, he asked to be received into the Roman Catholic 
Church. His secession was a great blow to many of his 
friends, to none more than to Keble, to whom it was a 
life-long sorrow. It caused also intense excitement and 
bitterness of feeling, the famous Apologia having been 
written in answer to charges of insincerity made by 
Charles Kingsley. 

Newman continued a devout Roman Catholic, and in 
1879 was made a cardinal by the Pope, dying in 1890. 
It was a strange career of a wonderfully gifted man. 
But no one now doubts his sincerity or the depth and 
purity of his religion. 

Newman's verses were first printed in The British 
Magazine for March, 1834, and then in 1836 in the Lyra 
Apostolica, a little book in which the contributions to the 
Magazine of Newman, Keble, and other kindred spirits, 
were gathered up. In 1846 the verses were included by 
Longfellow and Johnson in their Book of Hymns. Un- 
fortunately they had found them in a newspaper as 
beginning " Send kindly light," and so they printed 
them. In 1865 Dr. Charles S. Robinson printed them 
with the same opening in his Songs for the Sanctuary, 


He explained (in The Congregationalist, 1890) that the 

change was made by a " literary friend " who first brought 
the hymn to his notice, and who assumed that the form 
" Lead, kindly Light " was a typographical error, arising 
from the close resemblance of the words Lead and Send 
in careless manuscript. It is surely an instance of loyalty 
to friendship that Dr. Robinson persisted in so misprint- 
ing the hymn in all editions of that popular book up to 
the day of his death. And so the hymn stands in the 
more recent issues by the Century Company, now owning 
the plates of the book. The present familiarity and 
popularity of the hymn began with its inclusion in 1868 
in the Appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern. Cardi- 
nal Newman's connection with hymnody by no means 
ends with this hymn. From his long poem, " The Dream 
of Gerontius," has been taken the fine hymn beginning, 
" Praise to the Holiest in the height " (The Hymnal, No. 
429). He also published two collections of Latin hymns 
taken from the Breviaries, and made numerous and 
excellent translations from them. 

Some points for Discussion 

(1) What is the meaning of " kindly Light " ? Newman 
first printed his verses with the title, " Faith-Heavenly 
Leadings"; in 1836 with the title, "Light in the Dark- 
ness," and the motto, " Unto the godly there ariseth up 
light in the darkness " ; since then with the title, " The 
Pillar of the Cloud." 

(2) Nothing could have been farther from their author's 
thoughts than the use of his verses as a hymn. What 
are the qualities in verses so personal, so closely related 
to individual experience and circumstances, that make 


them Mutable to be sung by a whole congregation ? The 
Rev. George Huntington has given us (in his Random 
Recollections) the modest explanation of Cardinal New- 
man himself: " I had been paying Cardinal Newman a 
visit. ... I happened to mention his well-known hymn 
' Lead, kindly Light,' which he said he wrote when a very 
young man. ... I ventured to say, ' It must be a great 
pleasure to you to know that you have written a Hymn 
treasured wherever English-speaking Christians are to 
be found ; and where are they not to be found ?' He 
was silent for some moments and then said with emotion, 
* Yes, deeply thankful, and more than thankful ' ; then, 
after another pause, ' But you see it is not the Hymn, 
but the Tunc, that has gained the popularity ! The 
Tune is Dykes's, and Dr. Dykes was a great Master.' " 

The " Lux Benigna " of Dr. Dykes was composed in 
August, 1865, and was the tune chosen for this hymn by 
the committee preparing the Appendix to Hymns Ancient 
and Modern. Dr. Dykes's statement that the tune came 
into his head while walking through the Strand in 
London presents a striking contrast with the solitary 
origins of the hymn itself. 

I 3) " The fourth verse of the hymn " is often inquired 
for. It has only three. But Bishop Bickersteth printed 
in his Hymnal Companion, 1870, a fourth verse of his 
own composition, as follows : — 

Meantime along the narrow, rugged path 

Thystrlf hast trod. 
Lead. Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith, 

Home to my God, 
To rest for ever after earthly strife 
In the calm light of everlasting life." 



He intended to express his conviction that "the heart of 
the belated pilgrim can only find rest in the Light of 
Light." The author of the hymn protested against the 
addition, and many others joined in the protest. Can 
the addition be justified? 


(4) What is the meaning of the last two lines of the 
hymn, " And with the morn," etc. ? No doubt those who 
sing the hymn will interpret these lines as expressing 
their hope of being reunited with those they have loved 
and lost by death. But it does not follow that such was 


the author's original meaning. Would a theologian have 

referred to his glorified friends as angels ? Attention has 
been called to Newman's statement that after his awaken- 
ing to God in his sixteenth year, he was strongly con- 
scious both in his waking and sleeping moments of the 
presence of angels. That consciousness he subsequently 
lost, greatly to his sorrow ; and the suggestion is made 
that these lines expressed his hope of regaining it when 
the night had gone. Another suggested meaning is 
that in its darkness and perplexity the soul had lost the 
angel faces not only of Fancy and Hope and youthful 
Confidence, but of those divine forms of Faith and 
Assurance which had accompanied the believer in the 
early fervor of his belief. When quite an old man 
Cardinal Newman was asked by letter to explain the 
meaning of these lines, to which letter he returned this 
curious answer: — 

"The Oratory, January i 8, 1S79. 
" My dear Mr. Greenhill. 

" You flatter me by your question : but I think it was Keble 
who, when asked it in his own case, answered that poets were 
not bound to be critics, or to give a sense to what they had 
written ; and though I am not like him, a poet, at least I may 
plead that I am not bound to remember my own meaning, 
whatever it was, at the end of almost fifty years. Anyhow, 
there must be a statute of limitation for writers of verse, or it 
would be quite tyranny if, in an art which is the expression, 
not of truth, but of imagination and sentiment, one were 
obliged to be ready for examination on the transient state of 
mind which came upon one when home-sick, or sea-sick, or 
in any other way sensitive or excited. 

" Yours most truly. 

"John H. Newman.' 1 



My country, 'tis of thee, 
Sweet land of liberty, 

Of thee I sing ; 
Land where my fathers died, 
Land of the pilgrims' pride, 
From every mountain side 

Let freedom ring:. 

2 My native country, thee, 
Land of the noble free, 

Thy name I love ; 
I love thy rocks and rills, 
Thy woods and templed hills; 
My heart with rapture thrills 

Like that above. 

Let music swell the breeze, 
And ring from all the trees 

Sweet freedom's song : 
Let mortal tongues awake ; 
Let all that breathe partake ; 
Let rocks their silence break. 

The sound prolong. 



4 Our fathers' God, to Thee, 
Author of liberty, 

To Thee we sing : 
Long may our land be bright 
With freedom's holy light; 
Protect us by Thy might, 
Great God, our King. 

Rev. Samuel Francis Smith, 1832 


-This is the text of the hymn as originally written, and which Dr. 
Smith expressed himself as feeling unauthorized to alter in any 

The Story of the Hymn 

At a reunion of the famous Class of 1829, of Harvard 
College, one of its members referred to a classmate in 
this way : — 

" And there's a nice youngster of excellent pith, — 
Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith ; 
But he shouted a song for the brave and the free, — 
Just read on his medal, ' My country,' 'of thee ! ' " 

It was Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes who read the 
poem, and it was his friend and classmate, Samuel 
Francis Smith, who wrote " My Country, 'tis of Thee." 

He was a Boston boy, born under the sound of the 
Old North Church chimes on October 21st, 1808. After 
being graduated at Harvard he began to study for the 
ministry ; and it was while at Andover Theological 
Seminary, in February, 1832, that he wrote the hymn. 

In 1 83 1 or thereabouts Mr. Willam C. Woodbridge, 
a distinguished educator, had visited Germany for the 
purpose of studying the system of German common 
schools. Among their peculiarities he noted that much 
attention was given to children's music, and he brought 


home with him a large number of music books, especially 
such as were used in the German schools. In Boston 
just then Mr. Lowell Mason was interesting himself in 
the music of the churches, and was engaged in training 
the Sunday-school children to sing, with a view of fitting 
them to take their places in the choirs. There was quite 
a scarcity of songs and tunes suitable for children's use, 
and Mr. Woodbridge placed the entire collection which 
he had brought from Germany in Mr. Mason's hands. 
But in all these books the music was set to German 
words, and of that language Mr. Mason had no 

And this fact was the occasion which led to the writ- 
ing of the hymn " America." Dr. Smith during his life- 
time furnished many accounts of the circumstances, 
which, of course, he alone knew. While all of these 
accounts are in substantial agreement, much the best of 
them was that written for The Outlook, and printed in 
the number for November 23rd, 1895 : 

" At that time," says Dr. Smith, " I was a student in 
the Theological Seminary at Andover. One day [Mr. 
Mason] brought me the whole mass of his books, some 
bound and some in pamphlet form, and said, in his simple 
and childlike way, ' There, Mr. Woodbridge has brought 
me these books. I don't know what is in them. I 
can't read German, but you can. I wish you would 
look over them as you find time, and if you fall in with 
anything I can use, any hymns or songs for the children, 
I wish you would translate them into English poetry; 
or, if you prefer, compose hymns or songs of your own, 
of the same metre and accent with the German, so that 
I can use them.' 


ms \ 

^i ill ll # ^ 

S ' 



■ w&U hum 


" I accepted the trust not unwillingly, as an agreeable 
recreation from graver studies, and from time to time 
gave him the results of my efforts. Thus he was fur- 
nished with several hymns for the Spiritual Sougs y which 
he was issuing in numbers ; also for the Juvenile Lyre, 
the first book of children's music ever published in this 
country, in which most of the songs were my own 
translations from Naegeli and other German composers. 

"One dismal day in February, 1832, about half an 
hour before sunset, I was turning over the leaves of one 
of the music books, when my eye rested on the tune 
which is now known as ' America.' I liked the spirited 
movement of it, not knowing it, at that time, to be 
' God Save the King.' I glanced at the German words 
and saw that they were patriotic, and instantly felt the 
impulse to write a patriotic hymn of my own, adapted 
to the tune. Picking up a scrap of waste paper which 
lay near me, I wrote at once, probably within half an 
hour, the hymn ' America,' as it is now known every- 
where. The whole hymn stands to-day as it stood on 
the bit of waste paper, five or six inches long and two 
and a half wide." 

Mr. Smith had no suspicion that he had in that short 
half hour made his name imperishable. He gave the 
song soon afterward to Mr. Mason, with some others, 
and thought no more about it. On the Fourth of July 
of that same year Mr. Mason brought it out at a chil- 
dren's celebration in the Park Street Church, Boston. 
From there it soon found its way into the public schools 
of that city, and then of other places, and into picnics 
and patriotic celebrations everywhere ; and finally into 
the hymn books of the various denominations. The 


whole history of the hymn and its present position are 
summed up in a remark once made by the author him- 
self: " The people took it into their hearts." To-day it 
is called the national hymn, but it is not made so by any 
formal decree of adoption. It is the national hymn 
simply because the people that compose the nation love 
it, and on any occasion when their hearts are fired by 
patriotic feelings, use this hymn spontaneously to express 
those feelings. 


Samuel F. Smith was graduated from Andover Semi- 
nary the same year in which he wrote the hymn. For a 
year and a half after graduation he was the editor of the 
Baptist Missionary Magazine. In February, 1834, he 
was ordained, and became pastor of the Baptist Church 
in Waterville, Maine. He continued as pastor there for 
eight years, serving also as Professor of Modern Lan- 
guages in Waterville College, now Colby University : 
for among Dr. Smith's other gifts was that of acquiring 
lancruao-es. Duringr his life he became familiar with no 
less than fifteen, and a visitor to him in his eighty-sixth 
year found him on the lookout for a suitable text-book 
with which he might begin the study of the Russian 

In 1842 Dr. Smith became pastor of the First Baptist 
Church of Newton, Massachusetts, when he removed to 
Newton Centre. There for more than half a century he 
lived in a simple way with his family in the wide, brown 
frame dwelling of two stories, which has been the goal 
of so many sight-seers. He was pastor there for twelve 
years and a half, and then Secretary of the Missionary 

1 ,J 

^^^H^^^B^^^^Pl W^wLMmJ ■ V; 

t * Pu i^^3^Bfl Bv ' 

Copyrighted. By permission of Soule Art Company 



Union for fifteen, spending two of them abroad visiting 
missionary stations. 

Dr. Smith led a very busy, active life, preaching, 
editing, writing, studying. From 1842 to 1848 he was 
editor of The Christian Review. He was one of the 
editors of The Psalmist (18431, a ni ost successful Baptist 
hymn book, and compiled several collections of verse, 
of which Rock of Ages is the best known. He was 
also the author of The Life of Joseph Grafton ( 1 848), 
Missionary Sketches (1879), The History of Newton, 
Massachusetts, (1884), and of Missionary Sketches ( 1 884), 
which embodied an account of a later tour among for- 
eign fields. 

His verse writing was a recreation rather than his 
occupation, and he made no claim to be counted among 
the poets. Certainly the large volume of his verse 
gathered at the close of his life under the editorship of 
his friend General Carrington would yield no sure support 
for such a claim. He wrote, however, many successful 
hymns, of which " The Morning Light is Breaking " 
(The Hymnal, No. 386), is especially familiar. But, no 
matter what he accomplished or where he went, it was 
always as the author of " My Country, 'tis of Thee " that 
he was recognized and welcomed, and was honored as 
such at a public celebration in Music Hall, Boston, dur- 
ing the last year of his life. Dr. Smith lived to be 
eighty-seven years old, active and busy until the evening 
of Saturday, Nov. 16th, 1895. On that evening he took 
the train for Read vi lie, near Boston, where he was to 
preach the next day. Just as he entered the car, turn- 
ing to speak with a friend, he gasped for breath, threw 
his hands into the air, and fell backward in death. 



(1) Is it to be regretted that these words should be 
sung to the National Anthem of Great Britain rather than 
to a distinctive American air ? Perhaps, in any event, 
the connection is now indissoluble, though it hardly 
justifies us in re-naming the tune "America." It would 
be interesting to know the origin of the National Anthem, 
and who composed it. Much time and pains have been 
spent in investigating the matter, but these questions still 
remain unanswered. All that can be said upon the 
subject (by the man most competent to say it) may be 
found in a recent book, The Origin and History of the 
Music and Words of the National Anthem s by Wm. H. 
Cummings, published by Novello & Co., London and 
New York. At the annual meeting of the Rhode 
Island State Society of the Cincinnati, on July 4th, 1901, 
a committee was appointed to ascertain whether a suitable 
national tune cannot be found for this hymn. 

(2) Once, in referring to criticisms of the hymn from a 
literary standpoint, Dr. Holmes called attenton to the 
strength of the first line, and said, " He wrote ' My 
country.' If he had said ' Our country,' the hymn would 
not have been immortal, but that ' my ' was a master- 
stroke." Just what was the gain of the " my " over 
" our " in that place ? 

(3) Is this really a national or only a sectional (New 
England) hymn ? A correspondent of The Churchman 
(1895) argued for the latter, claiming that the line " Land 
of the pilgrims' pride " referred to the Pilgrim Fathers of 
New England. The same interpretation of this line was 
made in an editorial in The Independent (January 14th, 


1896). If Dr. Smith intended to refer to the Pilgrim 
Fathers, that of course is the end of the matter. But as 
yet no one produces such an interpretation of the line 
coming from him. Apart from such an authoritative state- 
ment, is it not the natural interpretation that " pilgrims " 
are in contrast with those whose fathers died here ; those 
coming to our shores and adopting our country ? If 
Dr. Smith intended to refer to the Pilgrim Fathers, would 
he not have used the capital in " pilgrims " ? But he did 
not in such autograph copies as the writer has seen ; and 
the word is not so printed in his collected Poems. Again, 
is " pride " a word with which one would describe the feel- 
ings of the Pilgrim Fathers toward their new home ? It 
does, on the other hand, describe what is plainly the 
fundamental feeling of many " pilgrims " toward the 
home of their adoption. 

(4) Of this hymn there was but one text, in universal 
use, until in 1892 the Protestant Episcopal Convention 
adopted the new hymnal containing as Hymn Xo. 196 a 
mongrel made up of the fourth verse of " My Country, 
'tis of Thee," followed by the two verses of " God Bless 
our Native Land " (altered). The editorial in The Inde- 
pendent, already referred to, explains this by the unwill- 
ingness of the Episcopal Church to sing the praises of 
the Pilgrim Fathers. Whatever we may think of the 
convention's course in mutilating the hymn, is it not 
more likely that they were aiming at a hymn more dis- 
tinctly religious than Dr. Smith's verses ? 

(5) How can it be explained that while Americans 
really love this hymn, so very few know the words well 
enough to sing them when called upon ? Is this fact 
creditable to the people ? 




i Onward, Christian soldiers, 

Marching as to war, 

With the cross of Jesus 

Going on before : 
Christ the Royal Master 
Leads against the foe ; 
Forward into battle, 
See, His banners go. 

Onward, Christian soldiers, 

Marching as to war, 
With the cross of Jesus 
Going on before. 

2 At the sign of triumph 

Satan's host doth flee ; 
On then, Christian soldiers, 

On to victory : 
Hell's foundations quiver 

At the shout of praise ; 
Brothers, lift your voices, 

Loud your anthems raise. 
Onward, etc. 

3 Like a mighty army 

Moves the Church of God ; 
Brothers, we are treading 

Where the saints have trod: 



We are not divided, 

All one body we, 
One in hope and doctrine, 

One in charity. 

Onward, etc. 

4 Crowns and thrones may perish, 

Kingdoms rise and wane, 
But the Church of Jesus 

Constant will remain ; 
Gates of hell can never 

'Gainst that Church prevail; 
We have Christ's own promise, 

And that cannot fail. 
Onward, etc. 

5 Onward, then, ye people, 

Join our happy throng, 
Blend with ours your voices 

In the triumph-song; 
Glory, laud, and honor 

Unto Christ the King; 
This through countless ages 
Men and angels sing. 
Onward, etc. 

Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, 1865 

NOTE. — The text is that printed in the Appendix to Hymns Ancient and 
Modern, 1868, and ever since the standard. An autograph 
copy of the hymn in the writer's possession reads, in the second 
line of the second verse, " Satan's legions flee." 

The story of the hymn 
This marching hymn was written in England just at 
the time when in our own country the sad strife of the 
Civil War had drawn to a close. And it is not unlikely 
that the new soldier-spirit left in the hearts of young 
and old Americans by the four years of the Civil War 
has had something to do with the marked popularity 


gained by this and other military hymns. An influ- 
ence of the same sort can be seen plainly in American 
hymn books published after the close of the Revolution 
of 1776. 

The Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould wrote the hymn while 
curate of a Yorkshire parish, and in a recent interview 
he has given an account of its origin. "It was written," 
he says, " in a very simple fashion, without a thought of 
publication. Whitmonday is a great day for school 
festivals in Yorkshire, and one Whitmonday it was 
arranged that our school should join its forces with 
that of a neighboring village. I wanted the children to 
sing when marching from one village to the other, but 
couldn't think of anything quite suitable, so I sat up at 
night resolved to write something myself. ' Onward, 
Christian Soldiers ' was the result. It was written in 
great haste, and I am afraid some of the rhymes are 
faulty. Certainly nothing has surprised me more than 
its great popularity." The hymn was written to be sung 
to a well-known tune by Haydn, which has been much 
used in American churches ; so much used, indeed, that 
it became worn out. 

"Onward, Christian Soldiers" was written in 1865. 
That same year it was printed in a periodical, The Church 
Times. As early as 1868 it was given a place in the 
Appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern, thus securing 
a sponsor of the most influential kind. This was at a 
time when the Protestant Episcopal Church in the 
United States was restive under its old hymn book, and 
feeling its way toward something better. Eager eyes had 
already turned toward Hymns Ancient and Modern. Its 
very name pleased the growing party who were seeking 


" primitive" paths, while the High Church doctrine of its 
hymns and the ecclesiastical tone of the new " Anglican 
school " of music it represented, won their hearts com- 
pletely. A reprint of Hymns Ancient and Modern and 
its new Appendix appeared at Philadelphia in 1869, with 
the imprint of the Lippincotts. In this " Onward, Chris- 
tian Soldiers " appeared for the first time, probably, in 
this country. During the year following the Rev. 
Charles L. Hutchins included it in his Church Hymnal, 
originally planned for use in St. Paul's Cathedral, Buffalo, 
New York. In 1 871 it appeared in the draft of the new 
hymnal laid before the General Convention of the Prot- 
estant Episcopal Church, becoming one of the author- 
ized hymns of that Church. Into the church-worship 
of other denominations the hymn (like many other 
things that would once have seemed alien) gradually 
worked its way by first becoming familiar in the freer 
atmosphere of the Sunday-schools. The hymn was not 
included in the authorized Presbyterian Hymnal of 1874, 
although the compilers of that book made large use of 
Hymns Ancient and Modern. The rival Hymns and 
Songs of Praise, by Drs. Hitchcock and Schaff, pub- 
lished that same year, did, however, include it. 

What proved a most effective letter of introduction 
for the hymn, and has secured its continued general use, 
was the appearance in The Musical Times for December, 
1 87 1, of the stirring tune written for it by Arthur S. 
Sullivan, to which it has been wedded ever since. At 
the present time it is unquestionably the most popular 
and often-used of all processional hymns. If it should 
ever drop out of use, that result would probably come 
about through sheer weariness caused by over-repetition. 




In this hymn we have for the first time one by a living 
author. Mr. Baring-Gould is so many-sided a man, with 
such a variety of gifts and accomplishments, and he has 
done so much work of so many kinds, that he may be 


said to combine in himself the material for the make-up 
of at least two distinguished men. There is, therefore, 
an amusing fitness in his compound name, and in the 
fact that sometimes he is indexed among the B's for 
Baring, and sometimes among the G's for Gould. 

Mr. Baring-Gould is now rector of the parish of Lew 
Trenchard, where his family has had its seat for nearly 
three hundred years. He is also squire and lord of 
the manor and a justice of the peace. He lives in 
Lew Trenchard Manor House, inherited with the family 
property at his father's death in 1872. His study is de- 
scribed as a long, low room, with a deep embrasured 
window overlooking a lovely view, and paneled in fine 
dark oak, with the rich carvings of the old English time. 
In this room works the remarkable man, who is not 
only squire and rector, but also theologian, historian, 
antiquarian, student of comparative religion, novelist, 
and poet. The amount of literary work done in this 
room, much of it requiring wide research, is no less than 
amazing. On religious subjects, besides many volumes 
of his sermons and devotional and practical writings, he 
has written a number of works of a more learned char- 
acter. Of these, the best known, perhaps, are, The Lives 
of the Saints, in fifteen volumes, and TJie Origin and 
Development of Religious Belief, in two. He has pub- 
lished many volumes dealing with manners and customs, 
legendary and folk lore, antiquities and out-of-the-way 
information, of which he is himself a living encyclopedia. 
Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, Legends of the Old 
Testament, Iceland, Its Scenes and its Sagas, Curiosities 
of the Olden Times, The Songs of the West, are but 
a few of the more familiar titles. And for some time 



it has been his custom to write a new novel every 
year. In England he is one of the most popular living 

In all this work Mr. Baring-Gould has employed no 

secretaries or amanuenses. The secret is simply that I 


stick to a task when I begin it," he once said. " For 
some years I have found it necessary to spend the 
winters abroad, and while I am in the south of France or 
in Rome I think out the work which I am going to do 
when I return home. Thus I build up the plot of a 


"story, and it all shapes itself in my head, even the dia- 
logue. I make a few notes, principally of the division 

of the chapters, and then, when I come back, it is simply 
a matter of writing it out." 

When asked if he did not have to wait for inspiration, 
he replied with a quiet smile, " Inspiration is all moon- 
shine in the sense in which you mean it. It would never 
do to wait from day to day for some moment which 
might seem favorable for work " ; adding that he often 
did his best work when he felt the least desire to go on 
with it. His hymn writing is, of course, small in quantity 
beside the great volume of his other achievements, but it 
certainly does not lack what is called inspiration, whether 
waited for or worked for. He has written many carols 
and quite a number of hymns, all of which have fresh 
and striking qualities. Next to " Onward, Christian 
Soldiers," the lovely evening hymn for children, " Now 
the Day is Over" (The Hymnal \ No. 692), and his trans- 
lation, " Through the Night of Doubt and Sorrow " 
(The Hymnal, No. 418), are probably most often sung. 

Mr. Baring-Gould was born at Exeter, January 28th, 
1834. He was graduated from Clare College, Cambridge, 
in 1854. In 1864 he was ordained and became curate 
of Horbury, where he wrote our hymn. From 1867 he 
was Incumbent of Dalton, until Mr. Gladstone appointed 
him Rector of East Mersea, in 1871. The rectorate of 
Lew Trenchard is what in England is called a family 
living, and when in 1881 the last incumbent died, Mr. 
Baring-Gould, who was the patron of the living as well 
as lord o( the manor, became also rector of the parish 
by his own appointment. It cannot be denied that he 
chose an able and hard-working man to fill the post 



(1) Tin's hymn may be examined as an example of a 
class of hymns standing somewhat apart from others. 
It is what is called a processional hymn. In church life 
a processional hymn corresponds to a marching song in 
civil life, one " useful for church parade and similar ser- 
vices." What are the qualities proper for such a hymn ? 
Is there any other so good for the purpose as this ? 

(2) It is interesting to contrast this Anglican " Onward, 
Christian Soldiers" with the Presbyterian "Stand Up, 
Stand Up for Jesus." Note the different ways in which 
the two writers picture the Church. Can you trace in 
each hymn the marks of the peculiar type of Christianity 
for which the author stands? Which hymn has more 
picturesque beauty, and which the greater moral earnest- 
ness ? But is not the purpose and right use of the 
hymns quite different? If so, each must be judged from 
its own standpoint. 

(3) In what sense are we to take the statements of the 

third verse,- 

'* We are not divided, 
All one body we, 
One in hope and doctrine," etc. ? 

They may be contrasted with the familiar lines of his 
fellow-churchman (the Rev. Samuel J. Stone), — 

" Though with a scornful wonder 
Men see her sore oppressed, 
By schisms rent asunder, 
By heresies distressed." 

And what and where found is " Christ's own promise" 
referred to in the fourth verse? 

I 1 6 S Ti PIES OF / / MIL 1. 1 R II \ 'MNS 

(4) As originally written, the hymn had an additional 
(then the fourth) verse, as follows: — 

•' What the saints established 

That I hold for true, 
What the saints believed 

That believe I too. 
Long as earth endureth 

Men that Faith will hold, — 
Kingdoms, nations, empires, 

In destruction rolled." 

This is to be read immediately after the present third 
verse. Should it be restored to its original place ? (The 
fault}' rhyme in this verse is doubtless what the author 
had in mind in the remark already quoted.) 


The Text of the hymn 

Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee ! 
E'en though it be a cross 

That raiseth me ; 
Still all my song shall be, 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee ! 

2 Though like the wanderer, 

The sun gone down, 
Darkness be over me, 

My rest a stone ; 
Yet in my dreams I'd be 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee ! 

3 There let the way appear, 

Steps unto heaven : 
All that Thou send'st to me 

In mercy given: 
Angels to beckon me 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee! 



4 Then, with my waking thoughts 

Bright with Thy praise, 
Out of my stony griefs 

Bethel I'll raise ; 
So by my woes to be 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee ! 

5 Or if on joyful wing 

Cleaving the sky, 
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, 

Upwards I fly, 
Still all my song shall be, 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee ! 

Sarah Flower Adams, 1841 

NOTE. — The text is taken from W.J. Fox's Hymns and Anthems ; with a 
single change, referred to under " Some Points for Discussion." 


In the year 1820 there came to Dalston, then a rural 
suburb of London, a little family composed of Benjamin 
Flower, a widower, and his two daughters, the younger 
of whom was afterward to write this hymn. 

Something of a career lay behind Mr. Flower, then 
an elderly man. Unsuccessful in business speculations 
as a young man, he had become a travelling salesman on 
the continent. There he became an adherent of the 
French Republic, and in 1792 published a book on the 
French Constitution which was really an attack on that 
of England. He was selected to edit The Cambridge 
Intelligencer, an influential weekly of radical principles. 
Accused of libelling the Bishop of Llandaff, whose 
political conduct he had censured, he was sentenced to 
six months' imprisonment in Newgate with a fine of 


£100. He was visited in prison by Miss Eliza Gould, a 
lady who is said to have suffered for her own liberal 
principles, and shortly after his release he married her. 
They settled at Harlow in Essex, where Mr. Flower 
became a printer and where Mrs. Flower died in 18 10. 
These facts of their father's career help us to understand 
the atmosphere in which the motherless girls grew up. 

Both daughters had inherited their mother's delicate 
constitution, but both were* talented to an unusual de- 
gree, and they attracted to the Dalston home many 
friends who afterward became- distinguished. Among 
these were Harriet Martineau and Robert Browning, 
" the boy poet," as Eliza Flower calls him in her letters, 
who came often to discuss religious difficulties with her 
sister Sarah. Eliza, the elder, was a skilful musician 
with a remarkable gift for musical composition. Sarah, 
the younger of the sisters, was also musical, and pos- 
sessed of a rich contralto voice, and was much given to 
singing songs in costume, with appropriate dramatic 
action. The elder sister always furnished the accompa- 
niment, and sometimes the musical settings of these 
songs, in their domestic entertainments. 

Sarah Flower was born at the Harlow home on 
February 22nd, 1805. She had the dramatic instinct, 
and from childhood cherished the ambition of adopting 
the stage as a profession. She idealized the stage as an 
ally of the pulpit, and held that the life of an actress 
should be as high and noble as the great thoughts and 
actions she was called upon to express. In 1829 her 
father died, and in 1834 Sarah Flower was married to 
John Brydges Adams, a civil engineer and an ingenious 
inventor in the early days of railroad building. Her 


husband encouraged her dramatic ambition, and in 1837 
she made her first public appearance, at the Richmond 
Theatre, as " Lady Macbeth." Her success was great 
enough to gain for her an engagement at the Bath 
Theatre. But her health gave away under the strain of 
public performances, and she suffered a seige of illness 
at Bath which at once put an end to all hope of a dra- 
matic career. 

Mrs. Adams determined to devote herself to literary 
work, for she had in addition a considerable literary gift. 
She wrote much for the Monthly Repository, but her 
most ambitious effort was " Vivia Perpetua — a Dramatic 
Poem," published in 1841. It tells the story of a young 
mother who suffered a martyr's death at Carthage, a. d. 
203, for her faith in Christ. There is but little doubt 
that her own moral earnestness and intense feelings are 
set forth in the character of Vivia. The poem is often 
eloquent, but as a drama not well constructed, and it has 
taken no permanent place in literature. " The Royal 
Progress," a long poem in ballad metre, has met a like 
fate. Mrs. Adams's high ideals and ambitions led her 
to undertake tasks beyond her powers. Though am- 
bitious to lead in the moral uplifting of the stage, even 
the ordinary routine of an actress's life was beyond her 
physical powers. And so her attempt to revive the 
poetical drama was quite as far beyond her intellectual 
powers. She had, however, a real gift for lyrical poetry. 
By her lyrics she retains a modest place in literature, 
and is chiefly remembered as the author of " Nearer, My 
God, to Thee." 

Mrs. Adams is described by her friend, Mrs. Bridell 
Fox, as "tall and singularly beautiful, with noble and 



"regular features ; in manner gay and impulsive, her con- 
versation witty and sparkling." The portrait here given 
is a facsimile of a slight sketch believed to have been 
made by Miss Margaret Gillies in 1834. Mrs. Adams 
seems to have made a deep impression upon the minds 
of those who knew her. They speak enthusiastically 
of her personal charm, and of her purity and high- 
mindedness. In his " Blue-Stocking Revels," the poet 
Leigh Hunt also pays tribute to her as " Mrs. Adams, 
rare mistress of thought and of tears." 

Both of the sisters died while still in early life, and 
within less than two years of each other. Eliza died of 
consumption in December, 1846, and Sarah on August 
14th, 1848; the death of the younger sister was prob- 


ably hastened by the cares and anxiety occasioned by 
the long illness of the elder. At the funerals of both. 
hymns by Mrs. Adams were sung to music composed 
for them by her sister. One cannot avoid a feeling of 
regret that some foretaste of her usefulness and fame did 
not come to brighten the failing days of the author of 
" Nearer, My God, to Thee."' 


After the death of Mr. Flower, his daughters removed 
to Upper Clapton, a suburb of London, and there con- 
nected themselves with the religious society to which 
the gifted William Johnson Fox ministered, in South 
Place Chapel, Finsbury. Mr. Fox occupied an inde- 
pendent ecclesiastical position, though generally classed 
as a Unitarian. For the use of the congregation he 
prepared a collection of Hymns and Anthems, published 
in 1840 and 1 84 1, in two parts. At his request Mrs. 
Adams wrote for the book thirteen original hymns and 
some translations. One of the hymns was " Nearer. My 
God, to Thee," and it first appeared in the second part 
of the book. Like most of Mrs. Adams's hymns it was 
set to music by her sister, and was often heard in the 
services of South Place Chapel. 

44 How she composed her hymns," says Mrs. Bridell 
Fox, 44 can hardly be stated. She certainly never had 
any idea of composing them. They were the spontan- 
eous expression of some strong impulse of feeling of 
the moment ; she was essentially a creature of impulse. 
Her translations would, of course, be an exception ; also, 
perhaps, when she was writing words for music already 
in use in the chapel." 


" Nearer, My God, to Thee " was not long in finding 
its way across the ocean. While Mr. Fox was compil- 
ing his hymn book for his London congregation, an 
American clergyman, somewhat like him in his religious 
views, the Rev. James Freeman Clarke, was organizing 
a new congregation in Boston as the Church of the 
Disciples. (It is the church described as the Church of 
the Galileans in Dr. Holmes's Professor at the Breakfast 
Table}) Mr. Clarke printed a new hymn book for it in 
1844, including a number of hymns from Mr. Fox's 


book, a copy of which had been given him by his friend 
Mr. Bakewell of Pittsburgh. Among these was " Nearer, 
My God, to Thee," and in 1846 Mr. Longfellow put the 
hymn into his Book of Hymns. It was some time, how- 
ever, before it made its way into the orthodox Congre- 
gational churches. Henry Ward Beecher, who was 


never afraid of novelty, included it in the Plymouth 
Collection in 1855. But what started the hymn on its 
free course in America was the tune " Bethany," which 
Lowell Mason wrote for it and published in 1856. And 
when the hymn, set to this taking tune, appeared in 1859 
in the wonderfully successful Sabbath Hymn and Tune 
Book of the professors at Andover Seminar}', its general 
use became assured. By 1866 it had found its way into 
the authorized hymnal of the Presbyterian Church. 

Some points for Discussion 

(1) Although so popular with congregations, this 
hymn has had rather hard treatment at the hands of 
editors of hymn books. In a number of cases the 
editor has inserted a new stanza, composed by himself. 
Bishop How rewrote the entire hymn for the 1864 
edition of his Psalms and Hymns. The object of these 
changes was to introduce the name and work of Christ, 
" to make the hymn more distinctly Christian." Is there 
a real lack in the hymn, needing to be supplied in some 
such way ? Or is it likely that the Unitarian origin of 
the hymn suggested the need of change ? 

(2) The text of the hymn has also suffered much 
from alteration, and is very rarely printed as Mrs. 
Adams wrote it. In the Protestant I^piscopal Hymnal, 
for instance, " the wanderer " of verse two becomes " a 
wanderer," and the following line reads, " Weary and 
lone." The " Bethel," of verse four, becomes "altars." 
Is not the Bible story on which the hymn is based com- 
pletely hidden by these changes ? In The Hymnal only 
one word differs from what Mrs. Adams wrote. In the 
fifth line she wrote " would be " instead of " shall be." 


The editor thought " would be " better, because less 
boastful and self-confident, but he feared to make con- 
fusion by changing what everybody sings from memory. 
The editor of the new Presbyterian hymnal for Scotland 
was braver, and prints Mrs. Adams's text, here, as in 
every other particular. 

(3) Perhaps no hymn is sung more thoughtlessly than 
this. What is the meaning of " E'en though it be a 
cross That raiseth me " ? Write out the leading thought 
of the hymn in plain prose. Is it not singular that a 
hymn expressing desire to draw nearer to God by the 
way of suffering should be so often declared their favorite 
hymn by persons apparently the most self-indulgent ? 

(4) The literary merits of the hymn are much debated. 
One may admit certain faults. Indeed, he owes it to 
himself to recognize that " stony griefs " is a bad meta- 
phor, and that, if a verse is to be omitted in singing, the 
last verse is not ill-adapted to such a purpose. But 
notice, on the other hand, the perfect " singableness " of 
the hymn. And singableness is the first merit of a lyric. 
Note, also — who has not noted ? — the haunting beauty 
of the refrain, and the happy introduction of the lonely 
figure of Jacob. Is it not fair to say that, even from a 
literary point of view, the merits of the hymn outweigh 
its defects ? 

(5) It is likely that this hymn will always be associated 
with the tragic death and the obsequies of President 
McKinley. The last words of the President, as reported 
by the attendant physician (Dr. M. D. Mann), were : 
" ' Nearer, my God, to Thee, E'en though it be a cross,' 
has been my constant prayer." It is not unnatural that 
the grieved heart of the American people was deeply 


touched by such allusion under such circumstances. 
The hymn was sung in hundreds of churches over the 
country on the Sunday following, and in memorial gath- 
erings of every sort. One heard the familiar strains of 
the tune from strong-lunged bands of itinerant musicians 
in city streets, the street children and their elders often 
gathering about the performers, and perhaps joining in the 
hymn. On the day of the burial at Canton, Thursday, 
September 19th, 1 901, all traffic in the cities stopped, by 
previous arrangement, at half past three o'clock, and for 
five minutes there was silence. People in the trolley 
cars rose and those in the streets bared their heads and 
stood, often joining in singing the words of the hymn. 
In Union and Madison Squares, New York City, immense 
throngs had assembled, and after the period of silence, 
bands played " Nearer, My God, to Thee," and then " Lead, 
Kindly Light," a favorite hymn of the dead President, 
during which everv head in the throng" remained uncov- 
ered. The whole occasion was remarkable as a demon- 
stration of popular feeling in which reverence seemed to 
have a share. Has any other hymn ever received such 
popular recognition ? 




When I survey the wondrous cross 
On which the Prince of glory died, 

My richest gain I count but loss, 
And pour contempt on all my pride. 

2 Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, 

Save in the death of Christ my God : 
All the vain things that charm me most, 
I sacrifice them to His blood. 

3 See, from His head, His hands, His feet, 
Sorrow and love flow mingled down: 
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, 
Or thorns compose so rich a crown ? 

4 Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
That were a present far too small ; 
Love so amazing, so Divine, 

Demands my soul, my life, my all. 

Rev. Isaac Watts, 1707 

NOTE. — Four verses of the original five; for the omitted verse see under 
"Some Points for Discussion." The text is taken from the 
second edition of Dr. Watts's Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Lon- 
don, 1709. 


I 28 S Tl DIES OF /•: / Mil. 1. 1 R 11 ) M.YS 


While still a young man the Rev. Isaac Watts pub- 
lished in London, in 1707, a volume of Hymns and Spir- 
itual Songs. It was intended to be used as a hymn book, 
but it was not a collection out of many authors, every 
hymn being composed by Watts himself. 

In these days of hymn writing and hymn singing it is 
hard for us to feel how original and even daring his 
venture was. There had, of course, been writers of 
English hymns before Watts. But none of them had 
established a precedent or model to which he and others 
were expected to conform. He had to form his own 
ideal of what a hymn for congregational use should be. 
It was these hymns of Watts himself that were destined 
to become such a precedent to his successors ; and that 
is what James Montgomery meant in calling him " the 
inventor of hymns in our language." 

Watts had also to encounter an apparently impregna- 
ble prejudice in the churches against the use in praise of 
anything but metrical versions of the Psalms. This had 
been a matter of conscience ever since the Reformation, 
the idea being that the Psalms of the Bible were inspired 
by God to serve as the hymn book of His Church for all 
time, and that hymns were " merely human composures," 
unauthorized and unnecessary. Watts had ever the 
courage of his convictions, and he printed with his hymns 
an essay, not only denying that the Psalms were intended 
as the sole hymn book of the Christian Church, but 
arguing that it was the duty of the Church to make new 
hymns that should express Christian faith in the same 
degree that the Psalms had expressed Jewish faith. 

/ / 7/A N / SI 'A' I '/< ) ' 7 'HE WONDROUS ( 'A' ( )SS I 2 9 

Partly by his audacity, partly by the excellence of his 
hymns,, parti)' also on account of people's weariness with 
the old Psalm versions, Watts won the day. In dissent- 
ing churches his hymns were put into use immediately. 
Their influence spread so widely and grew so great that 
in the end it completely overcame the prejudice against 
hymns of " human composure," not only in dissenting 
churches but in the Church of England and the Church 
of Scotland. In America this prejudice against hymns 
was especially strong, but here, too, after much contro- 
versy, the influence of Watts prevailed. His Hymns, 
together with his later Imitations of The Psalms, became 
the familiar and loved hymn book of both the Presby- 
terian and Congregational Churches, excluding all besides 
for a considerable period. That the hymns of this inno- 
vator should thus become a badge and symbol of 
orthodoxy and conservatism in the churches that once 
disputed his way is an illustration of personal influence 
not easy to parallel. 

The first edition of Watts's Hymns has become a very 
rare book, only two or three copies being known to exist. 
One of these sold in London in December, 1901, for one 
hundred and forty pounds. This first edition contained 
in all two hundred and ten hymns, arranged in three 
books, together with several doxologies. In the third 
book, containing hymns to be used in the celebration of 
the Lord's Supper, " When I Survey the Wondrous 
Cross " appeared as number seven. Within two years 
Watts wrote one hundred and forty-four more, and added 
them in the second edition of 1709; at the same time 
making many alterations in the text of those printed at 
the earlier date. 


Of the two hundred and ten hymns included in the 
first edition it is probable that the larger number were 
written by Watts during the years 1695 and 1696, both 
of which he spent at his father's house in preparation 
for his entrance into the ministry. There is in exist- 
ence a letter from his brother Enoch, dated as early 
as March, 1700, urging the speedy publication of the 
hymns for use in public worship. One of Dr. Watts's 
earlier biographers gives the following account of their 
origin : " Mr. John Morgan, a minister oi very respecta- 
ble character now living at Romsey, Hants, has sent me 
the following information : ' The occasion of the Doctor's 
hymns was this, as I had the account from his worthy 
fellow-laborer and colleague, the Rev. Mr. Price, in whose 
family I dwelt above fifty years ago. The hymns which 
were sung at the Dissenting meeting at Southampton 
were so little to the gust of Mr. Watts that he could not 
forbear complaining of them to his father. The father 
bid him try what he could do to mend the matter. He 
did, and had such success in his first essay that a second 
hymn was earnestly desired of him, and then a third, 
and fourth, etc., till in process of time there was such a 
number of them as to make up a volume.' " This may 
be accepted as the traditional account of the origin of 
the hymns, and doubtless may be trusted so far at least 
as to show that they grew out of Watts's early dissatis- 
faction with the material available for congregational 
praise, and his determination to provide better material. 

The hymn we are now studying can hardly be said to 
have a special history as apart from the others in Watts's 
epoch-making book. Rut there are several things that 
single out this hymn from among the rest. One is its 



extraordinary excellence. It is not only the best of all 
Watts's hymns, but it is placed by common consent 
among the greatest hymns in the language. Another is 
the wideness of its use. The greater part of Watts's 



hymns are left behind ; this is sung in every branch of 
the English-speaking Church. Judged by the number 
of hymnals containing it, only one hymn is used more 
widely — Toplady's " Rock of Ages." Its greatest glory, 
however, is the part it has had in the experience of 


Christians. Only God can know how many living eyes 
it has inspired with the ideal of the cross of renunciation, 
how many dying eyes it has comforted with the vision of 
the cross of hope. 


Isaac Watts was born July 17th, 1674, at the English 
town of Southampton, where his father was deacon of a 
Congregational church. It was at a time when the laws 
against nonconformity to the state religion were still 
enforced with bitterness, and he was often carried in his 
mother's arms to the town jail, where she visited his 
father, imprisoned for conscience' sake. The accounts 
of Watts's childhood tell of a pale, undersized child, 
asking those about him to " buy a book " before he could 
pronounce the words plainly, beginning Latin at four, 
and writing poetry at seven. Perhaps there is an element 
of exaggeration in such stories. The portraits of Dr. 
Watts in his ponderous eighteenth century wig make it 
hard enough to think of him as ever young, and these 
accounts do not much encourage one in that attempt. 

After his school days at Southampton, a few friends, 
impressed by his diligence and abilities, offered to send 
him to one of the universities. But the universities were 
not open to dissenters, and among these the young 
scholar had determined to abide. He entered the acad- 
emy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe at Stoke Newington, 
and in 1693 was admitted to the church of which Mr. 
Rowe was pastor. At twenty he had completed the 
ordinary course of study, and had returned to his father's 
house, spending two years there in study and spiritual 
preparation for the ministry. Afterward he lived for 


several years with Sir John I lartopp as the tutor of his 
son, carrying forward his own studies at the same time. 

( )n his twenty-fourth birthday Watts preached his 
first sermon. He became the assistant, and in 1702 was 
ordained the successor, of Dr. Isaac Chauncy, pastor of 
the Independent Church meeting in Mark Lane, London. 
Already, as Dr. Chauncy's assistant, he had been laid 
aside for several months by sickness, and soon after his 
ordination he was seized with a dangerous illness which 
left him so weak as to require an assistant of his own. 
From 1712 to 17 16 he was again laid aside by a fever 
and its consequences, from which he never fully re- 
covered. Happily he had the gift of making people 
love him. His church was always patient and sympa- 
thetic, and in his weakness and loneliness he was invited 
to the palatial home of Sir Thomas Abney, Theobalds, 
not far from London. Expecting to stay a week, he 
remained in the family for the rest of his life, thirty-six 
years, a loved and honored guest. Here he continued 
his care of his church, preaching when able and engaging 
in literary work. Lady Abney watched over him with 
unremitting care, shielding him, so far as she could, from 
anxiety and troubles, until he died, after a long illness, 
November 25th, 1748. 

" Few men," said the great Dr. Johnson, " have left 
behind such purity of character or such monuments of 
laborious piety." His published works cover many de- 
partments — geography, astronomy, philosophy, theology, 
practical religion, and poetry. In all of these depart- 
ments he was accomplished and useful. But his own 
estimate, that in completing his Psalms and Hymns he 
had produced his greatest work for the use of the 


Church, is undoubtedly true. Providence had a special 
mission for him in that department, and through it his 
name and influence must always endure. 


(1) Our hymns have never had a critic so severe as 
the late Matthew Arnold. But on the last day of his 
life he attended the Sefton Park Presbyterian Church, 
Liverpool, of which Dr. Watson (Ian Maclaren) is pastor. 
The hymn, " When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," was 
sung. Coming down, afterward, from his bedroom in his 
brother-in-law's house to luncheon, Mr. Arnold was heard 
softly repeating to himself the opening lines. At luncheon 
he spoke of it as the greatest hymn in the language. 
Afterward he went out, and in ten minutes was dead. 
Does not such an incident (attested by Dr. Watson) show 
the importance of literary merit in hymns ? It recalls 
the appeal of John Wesley for hymns " such as would 
sooner provoke a critic to turn Christian, than a Chris- 
tian to turn critic." 

(2) This hymn bore the title: Crucifixion to the World 
by the Cross of CJirist. Can you give the verse from 
St. Paul on which it is based ? 

(3) In the original hymn there was a fourth verse, 
reading as follows : — 

" His dying Crimson like a Robe 

Spreads o'er his Body on the Tree, 
Then am I dead to all the Globe, 
And all the Globe is dead to me." 

This verse was omitted from The Hymnal, and for 
that omission its editor was criticised. Is it better to 


omit or retain the verse, and why ? In his second edition 
Dr. Watts printed this verse within brackets, signifying 
that it might " be left out in singing without disturbing the 

s use." That fact does not, however, settle the question. 
The frequent omission of this verse by editors is ex- 
plained by Canon Twells, in a sermon upon the hymn, 
in this way: "The rather awkward use of the word 
' globe ' for ' world/ to meet the exigencies of rhyme, 
has, I suppose, vetoed this verse." Are there better 
reasons ? 

(4) Dr. Watts very carefully revised the text oi his 
hymns for the second edition. In this hymn the only 
change was in the second line, which originally read : — 

" Where the young Prince of Glory dy'd.'* 

Was there sufficent reason for this change ? 


The Text of the Hymn 

i O still in accents sweet and strong 
Sounds forth the ancient word, 

" More reapers for white harvest fields, 
More laborers for the Lord." 

2 We hear the call; in dreams no more 

In selfish ease we lie, 
But, girded for our Father's work, 
Go forth beneath His sky. 

3 Where prophets' word, and martyrs' blood, 

And prayers of saints were sown, 
We. to their labors entering in, 

Would reap where they have strown. 

4 O Thou whose call our hearts has stirred, 

To do Thy will we come ; 
Thrust in our sickles at Thy word, 
And bear our harvest home. 

Rev. Samuel Longfellow, 1864 

NOTE. — The text is taken from Hymns of the Spirit, which Mr. Longfellow- 
compiled, in conjunction with his friend, the Rev. Samuel John- 




Iii all the editions of the poetical works of Henry W. 
Longfellow there is found among the earlier poems one 
entitled " Hymn for my Brother's Ordination." It is this 
brother, the Rev. Samuel Longfellow, who is the author 
of the hymn now to be studied. 

The Longfellow family lived in Portland, Maine. The 
father was a greatly respected lawyer there, and sur- 
rounded his family with comfort and refinement. The 
square brick house in which they lived, and in which 
Samuel, the younger of the brothers, was born June 
1 8th. 1 819, is still standing, though now in the business 
quarter of the town. 

Just as the older brother gravitated naturally toward 
a literary life, so the younger brother gravitated toward 
the ministry. From Harvard, where he was a classmate 
and close friend of Edward Everett Hale, he was gradu- 
ated in 1839; and, after a few years spent in teaching 
and study, entered the divinity school of that university, 
being graduated in 1846. It was while a student there 
that he and another friend, Samuel Johnson, undertook 
to compile a new hymn book for Unitarian churches — a 
somewhat audacious venture for two theological students. 
The book appeared in 1846, under the name of The Book 
of Hymns ; though Theodore Parker, who was one of 
the first to use it in his services, was wont to call it 
" The Book of Sams." 

The book was very remarkable for literary merit. It 
broke away from the old tradition of dull and heavy 
hymns, and brought before the churches many that were 
fresh and beautiful. Among these were " Lead, Kindly 



" Light," which the editors had found in a newspaper, and 
many of the hymns of Mr. Whittier and of other American 
writers. The book had a great influence far beyond the 
bounds of those who shared the peculiar religious beliefs 
of its young editors. 


Mr. Longfellow was ordained as a Unitarian minister 
in [848, and became pastor at Fall River, Massachusetts, 

and afterward at Brooklyn. After a long interval Mr. 
Longfellow in [878 began his last pastorate at the Uni- 
tarian Church of Germantown, a Philadelphia suburb. 
The whole period of his settled pastoral life was less than 
fifteen years. Together with a lack of physical robust- 
ness, there was a craving for the quiet life and a shrinking 
from formality and routine. Resigning his charge in 
1882, he took up his residence in the famous " Craigie 
House " in Cambridge that had been the home of his 
brother, the poet ; giving up his closing years to writing 
that brother's biography. Mr. Longfellow died October 
31a!, 1892, and was buried from the old home at Portland. 
No brothers were ever more devoted than these. But 
at the same time there are disadvantages in being the 
younger brother of a famous poet; and while Samuel 
Longfellow 7 had the poetic temperament, and was not 
lacking in the poetic gift, and was a prominent man in 
Unitarian circles, it has happened nevertheless that the 
light of his fame has burned, and always must burn, with 
a paler flame, because nature set it alongside of the far 
brighter blaze of his brother's renown. To most readers 
Samuel Longfellow is known simply as the poet's brother 
and biographer. Yet he was in all respects a man worth 
knowing for his own sake: "full of enthusiasm of the 
quiet, deep, interior kind; worshipful, devout, reverent ; 
a deep believer in the human heart, in its affections; 
having a perfect trust in the majesty of conscience, a 
supreme trust in God and in the laws of the world; a 
man thoroughly well informed, used to the best people, 
used to the best books and the best music, with the soul 



"of a poet in him and the heart of a saint; a man of a 
deeply, earnestly consecrated will ; simple as a little 
child; perpetually singing little ditties as he went about 
in the world, humming his little heart-songs as lie went 


about in the street, wherever you met him." "A very 
perfit gentil knight " was the old phrase applied to him by 
Colonel Higginson. 

And yet this sympathetic pastor, this sunny-hearted 
gentleman, all the motives of whose life were high and 
spiritual, who lived and did his work within a perpetual 
atmosphere of calm and sweet serenity, came gradually 
to assume an attitude toward Christianity that only the 


gentleness of his heart and his pervading chanty saved 
from being obstructive. Mr. Longfellow's religious in- 
heritance was that of the temper and beliefs of the older 
Unitarianism, and with this point of view the hymn book 
of his seminary days corresponds. His point of view ap- 
pears in his choice of hymns, which freely recognize the 
supernatural character of Christ. It appears in the very 
grouping of the hymns under such main heads as "Jesus 
Christ," " Communion Hymns," " Christianity and the 
Christian Life." How far that point of view was left 
behind as Mr. Longfellow's life advanced is revealed 
nowhere more plainly than in a second hymn book com- 
piled in the early sixties by the same two life-long friends, 
and published at Boston in 1864 as Hymns of the Spirit. 
From this later book all hymns " which attributed a 
peculiar quality and special authority to Christianity, and 
recognized a supernatural element in the personality 
of Jesus," were excluded. Even the hymn, " Christ to 
the Young Man Said," composed for his ordination by 
his famous brother was omitted because " he would not 
by that one name disturb the simplicity of his faith in the 
one Source of the soul's higher life." The Communion 
Hymns were left out, as the rite itself had disappeared 
from Mr. Longfellow's ministry. " Christianity " appears 
only as the heading of a group of seventeen hymns out 
of a total of seven hundred and seventeen. The view- 
point of the book was that which its editor had declared 
his own to be — that of universal religion of which Chris- 
tianity was only an illustration, of theism as distinguished 
from Christianity. 

If we are to take Mr. Longfellow at his word, and 
regard him as a theist rather than a Christian, there 


remains at least the satisfaction of recognizing the strik- 
ing moral coincidences between his conception of univer- 
sal religion and our own of Christianity. There remains 
the greater satisfaction of finding in his character and 
ways so many illustrations of what Christianity has done 
for life. But among those who care for Mr. Longfellow's 
hymns there will be very many who prefer to think of 
this free spirit as poet rather than as theologian. For the 
latter office he was indeed hardly qualified either by his 
mental bent or his habits of study. His was a mind of 
the sentimental cast, which sincerely loved truth and 
sought to find it, but in reality rejoiced more in a sense 
of unfettered freedom in the search itself than in any 
logical coherence of the beliefs that rewarded the search. 

The Story of the Hymn 

Mr. Longfellow wrote many hymns, most of which 
were included in Hymns of the Spirit. This hymn, beau- 
tiful and heartfelt as it is, has no striking features in its 
history. There is no account of its origin anywhere 
printed, and those who have written of it have simply 
said that it was composed for Hymns of the Spirit m 1864. 
The present writer, however, has in his possession an 
autograph letter of Mr. Longfellow's in which he states 
that " the hymn was originally written to be sung by a 
class graduating from the divinity school at Cambridge." 
He does not say in what year, and most probably did 
not remember, since his niece, who published a volume 
of his hymns after his death, was not able to give the 
date of this one. 

The hymn is becoming very popular in this country ; 
abroad it is less used than Mr. Longfellow's beautiful 


evening hymn, " Again, as Evening's Shadow Falls," 
and his " Holy Spirit, Truth Divine" ( The Hymnal, Nos. 
22, 279). It takes a great many years for a hymn to get 
into general use throughout all English-speaking coun- 
tries, and very lew hymns attain such an honor. Whether 
this or any of Mr. Longfellow's hymns shall gain such a 
distinction can hardly be foretold. 


(1) There is still some difference of opinion in regard 
to the propriety of the use by Orthodox churches of 
hymns by those writers of " liberal " or " radical " opin- 
ions whom we generally group together under the term 
" Unitarian." The following opinions are set down here, 
not for the purpose of settling that question, but rather 
as laying the ground for the discussion of it. 

When one comes to think about it, there is nothing 
singular in the fact that a Unitarian should write hymns 
that prove acceptable to Christians who have no share 
whatever in the beliefs peculiar to Unitarianism. As a 
matter of fact, it is not the purpose of every hymn to 
glorify the nature of our Lord as divine. Some hymns, 
for example, celebrate God's fatherhood or providence, 
some the work of the Spirit in our hearts, some are of 
heaven, some of the moral life, and some of missions. 
On these and other subjects there is very much ground 
held in common by all people of reverent mind and 
religious faith. There are, no doubt, hymns written 
by Dr. Holmes, Mr. Longfellow, and other " liberals," 
which contain their peculiar personal beliefs, some that 
even sound a note of protest against other peoples' 
beliefs ; and those are passed by, as a matter of course, 

Jfrfued ieA^C- **£** Zfi£ **t ^4^ 



by churches which profess the Orthodox faith. But 
the fact of their writing such sectarian hymns does 
not spoil the quality of such of their hymns as are not 
sectarian, but are simply religious. Is it not properly a 
matter of rejoicing that there are so many hymns that 
religious people of all shades of belief can agree to love 
and to sing ? 

(2) It has been said before now that the best hymns 
are those which use most freely the thoughts and even 
the language of the Bible. If that is true, the hymn 
of Mr. Longfellow would not need to be excluded from 
the best hymns, for it is Scriptural to a somewhat un- 
usual degree. From what passages in the gospel are 
the thoughts and some of the phrases of this hymn 
taken ? 


The Text of the Hymn 

i Jesus Christ is risen to-day, 
Our triumphant holy day, 
Who did once, upon the cross, 
Suffer to redeem our loss. 

Alleluia ! 

2 Hymns of praise then let us sing 
Unto Christ our heavenly King 
Who endured the cross and grave, 
Sinners to redeem and save. 

Alleluia ! 

3 But the pains which He endured 
Our salvation have procured ; 
Now above the sky He's King, 
Where the angels ever sing. 

Alleluia ! 

4 Sing we to our God above 
Praise eternal as His love ; 
Praise Him, all ye heavenly host, 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

Alleluia ! 

[A composite hymn] 

NOTE. — The text is that printed in connection with early nineteenth century 
issues of Tate and Brady's Psalms, except that some (possibly- 
all) of these issues read "hath" instead of " have " in the 
second line of the third verse ; treating " pains " as a singular — 
a usage not without precedents. 


148 studies of familiar hymns 

The Story of the Hymn 

There are a few familiar hymns which can best be 
described as gradual growths rather than as the crea- 
tions of an author's mind. Some lines or verses have 
served for the nucleus of a hymn; these have been 
reshaped T.nd added to time and again by the hands of 
successive editors, and in that way the hymn has attained 
the form we know. Poetry of a high order could not 
be made by such a process ; but of these composite 
hymns the few that survive are such, to say the least of 
them, as have proved both serviceable and attractive. 
One of the best of them is our Easter hymn, apart from 
which the services of that day would hardly seem com- 
plete. And the history of its making is not without an 
interest of its own. 

For the earliest form of the hymn we must go back 
to the fourteenth century. There is now in Munich a 
manuscript of that date containing an Easter carol in 
Latin, which reads as follows : — 

" Surrexit Cbristus hodie 
humano pro solamine. allel. 

Mortem qui passus corpore 
miserrimo pro homine. all. 

Mulieres ad tumulum 

dona ferunt aromatum. all. 

Album videntes angelum 

annunciantem gaudinm : all. 

Discipulis hoc dicite, 

quod surrexit rex gloria?, all. 

Paschal i pleno gaudio 
benedicamus domino, all." 


Other manuscripts of the same hymn exist, having ad- 
ditional verses. Hut we are specially concerned only 
with the first and second couplets, which are in all the 
manuscripts. For these two couplets proved to be the 
nucleus round which our hymn was to grow. 

The first stage in the growth of the hymn is the turn- 
ing of that Latin carol into English, four centuries later. 
The illustration here given is the facsimile of one page 
from a book printed in London, 1708, by J. Walsh. It 
had this title : — 

" Lyra Davidica, or a Collection of Divine Songs and 
Hymns, partly New Composed, partly Translated from 
the High German and Latin Hymns ; and set to easy and 
pleasant Tunes." 

Comparing the words in the facsimile with the first and 
second couplets of the Latin, it is readily seen that they 
are a translation of them, and not very different from the 
first verse of our present hymn. The remainder of the 
carol follows on the next page of the book, the whole 
reading as follows : — 

"Jesus Christ is Risen to day Ilalle-Halleluiah 
Our triumphant Holyday 
Who so lately on the Cross 
Suffer'd to redeem our loss. 

" Hast ye females from your fright 
Tnke to Galilee your flight 
To his sad disciples say 
Jesus Christ is risen to day. 

" In our Paschal joy and feast 
Let the lord of life be blest 
Let the Holy Trine be prais'd 
And thankful hearts to heaven be rais'd." 

<3L $tyu 


Sesus C/ifiat LsQusvn. to'cfay J~CaC/c.-(ka(C'fiuafh 

MM .l i lmU afej 



Our^btvu iii&Aa^SwOu&Q'u J7/7i/%-fftafie&ua&. 

m a hjt'w ]i Hf 

" ft l-VJSQ f I E-P {p f J 

i q -// ? i ml ^P 

Ju/fcro to 

rede&m otmt 

m nt-^rr^f 





We recognize also the " easy and pleasant tune, "to which 
we still sing our Easter hymn, harmonized in two parts, 
the air and bass. The tune seems to make its first ap- 
pearance in this book. Most likely it was composed for 
these words, but nobody knows. In many hymnals the 
statement still continues to be made that Dr. Worgan 
composed the tune, the fact that he was not yet born not 
seeming to make any difference. Nothing more is known 
of the translation than of the tune. Who wrote the 
English words, who edited the book, for whose use the 
book was intended — on none of these interesting ques- 
tions is there any light whatever. But the fact remains 
that in 1708 we got a first verse and also a tune for our 
Easter hymn, though not as yet in just the form we 

In 1749 or early in 1750 John Arnold, a musician 
living at Great Warley, in Essex, published the second 
edition of a collection of tunes called The Compleat 
Psalmodist. In this book the same tune appears again, 
but the hymn has been made over. Only the four lines 
of the translated carol from Lyra Davidica remain. 
These are altered, and there are now added two verses 
entirely new. The hymn in the earliest edition of this 
book seen by the present writer reads as follows : — 

"Jesus Christ is ris'n to-Day. Hallelujah. 
Our triumphant Holiday 
Who did once upon the Cross 
Suffer to redeem our Loss. 

" Hymns of praises let us sing 
Unto Christ our heav'nly King 
Who endur'd the Cross and Grave 
Sinners to redeem and save. 


" But the pain that he endur'd 
Our Salvation ha> procur'd 
Now above the Sky he's King 
Where the Angels ever >ing."' 

This is substantially the modern form of the hymn. And 
here again there is no clue as to the authorship of the 
new verses. 

Not much now remained to be done to the hymn. It 
needed a little polishing, and it needed to have a place 
made for it among the hymns sung in church. For 
these it waited until the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. At that time the Church of England was sing- 
ing metrical versions of the Psalms. Tate and Brady's 
version was commonly bound in with the Prayer Books. 
Toward the close of the eighteenth century a few hymns 
had appeared at the end of the Psalms. How they got 
there is not known. It is thought likely that some 
printer, with the free ways of a dissenter, saw fit to fill 
up a few blank leaves left over at the end of a Prayer 
Book with hymns, and that he made his own selection. 
Certain it is that the hymns appeared there and that they 
appeared without authority. It is equally certain that 
they kept their place in later editions of the Prayer Book 
and were sung in the services. They- not only stayed, 
but increased in number. Some time early in the nine- 
teenth century, at a date not yet fixed, our Easter hymn 
was added to the little group. The changes in the text 
were not many, and each change was for the better. 
This final form of the hymn corresponds to the first three 
verses as printed at the head of this Study. 

In later years some editor, thinking that the hymn 
needed a conclusion, added a doxology by the Rev. 


Charles Wesley, originally printed in 1740. The dox- 
ology (the fourth verse) suits the hymn and may now be 
looked upon as part of it. And the story of the making 
of the hymn, like the hymn itself, ends with this doxology. 
It was a long evolution, a somewhat curious history. 
Perhaps its most curious feature, amounting to something 
almost like an air of mystery, is the veil of anonymity 
that is not once lifted through all the five hundred years. 
Many hands have wrought to bring the materials into 
shape, and of all these hands not one can be associated 
with a human name or presence. 

The popularity of the hymn is readily explained. It 
appeared at a time when suitable Easter hymns were 
sadly lacking, already provided with a stirring melody. 
And both hymn and tune have kept their place because 
they express, somewhat quaintly but none the less fitly, 
the gratitude and gladness of the Christian heart in view 
of Christ's resurrection. 

Some points for Discussion 

(1) Are the Easter hymns as a class equal in merit 
and attractiveness to the Christmas hymns as a class ? 

(2) In the act of singing this hymn the correct render- 
ing of the tune makes such demands upon one's attention 
that the words deserve a quiet study apart. Does any 
hymn set forth more appealingly the mingled triumph 
and pathos of the resurrection ? Notice the alleluias 
which interrupt the very recital of Christ's pains. 

(3) Much has been said in favor of keeping up the 
association of a particular hymn with " the tune to which 
it has always been sung." As a matter of fact, the num- 
ber of standard hymns that have always or even generally 


been sung to special tunes of their own is quite small. 
In this matter we are likely to think that the association 
familiar to ourselves has been a more general usage than 
on inquiry proves to be the case. And even though a 
hymn has generally been sung to a particular tune, it 
may happen that the tune has been outgrown and the 
hymn thereby fallen into unfortunate neglect ; or that 
the hymn has outlived its usefulness while its tune is 
worthy of longer use if set to better words. In such a 
case a change of the association would seem desirable. 
But in a case such as this, where tune and words are 
both worthy, have come into the world together, and 
have been sung together very generally and with great 
satisfaction, is there not a certain profit as well as pro- 
priety in keeping that association undisturbed ? 

There is indeed need of a certain watchfulness on our 
part to make sure that we do not lose the words of this 
hymn altogether out of our hymn books. The tune 
goes very well to Wesley's Easter hymn in the same 
metre. And some recent compilers, pressed as they are 
for space, and conscious of a general desire that the 
number of hymns be reduced, have sought to relieve the 
situation by setting this tune to Wesley's words. Perhaps 
they thought we would not notice. But they do us an inj us- 
tice. No other words have just the Easter flavor of these. 

(4) The facts set forth in this Study are put in con- 
densed form into the note underneath the hymn in TJic 
Hymnal (No. 244). If any one would take the trouble 
to work out the note in the light of the Study he would 
be in the way of understanding those Hymnal notes on 
the history and text of the hymns. Many people find 
difficulty in following such condensed statements. 




i A mighty Fortress is our God, 

A Bulwark never failing ; 
Our Helper He amid the flood 

Of mortal ills prevailing : 
For still our ancient foe 
Doth seek to work us woe ; 
His craft and power are great, 
And, armed with cruel hate, 

On earth is not his equal. 

2 Did we in our own strength confide, 

Our striving would be losing ; 
Were not the right man on our side, 

The man of God's own choosing : 
Dost ask who that may be ? 
Christ Jesus, it is He ; 
Lord Sabaoth His Name, 
From age to age the same, 

And He must win the battle. 

3 And though this world, with devils filled. 

Should threaten to undo us ; 
We will not fear, for God hath willed 

His truth to triumph through us : 
The prince of darkness grim, — 
We tremble not for him ; 
His rage we can endure, 
For lo ! his doom is sure, 

One little word shall fell him. 



4 That word above all earthly powers, 

No thanks to them, abideth ; 
The Spirit and the gifts are ours 

Through Him who with us sideth : 
Let goods and kindred go, 
This mortal life also ; 
The body they may kill : 
God's truth abideth still, 

His kingdom is for ever. 

Rev. Martin Luther, (about) 1528 
Translated by Rev. Frederic Henry Hedge, 1852 

NOTE. — The text is taken from Hedge and Huntington's Hymns for the 

Church of Christ. 


The greatest scene of Luther's career was his brave 
stand before the Diet of Worms, on the 17th of April, 
1 52 1. It was on the way thither, when warned by 
Spalatin against entering the city, that Luther wrote 
back : " Were there as many devils in Worms as there 
are tiles on the roofs of the houses, I would go in." 
Perhaps the occurrence of this same sentiment in the 
third verse of Luther's hymn, " Ein' Feste Burg ist Unser 
Gott," is what has led so many writers to say that the 
hymn also was written on that journey to Worms. 
Picturesque as it may be thus to connect the great 
hymn with the great event, the claim is not supported 
by any actual evidence. Three years afterward, in 1524, 
Luther printed his earlier hymns, but this is not among 
them. One naturally concludes that it had not been 

Six other dates and occasions for the origin of the 
hymn have been fixed upon, each of them with con- 
siderable confidence. No one could seem more sure of 



anything than is Merle d'Aubigne, the brilliant historian 
of the Reformation, that Luther wrote the hymn while 
with the Elector John of Saxony, who was on his way 

to the Diet of Augsburg in 1530. That writer pictures 
the very scene. "John," he says, "began his journey 
on the 3rd April, with one hundred and sixty horse- 
men, clad in rich scarlet cloaks, embroidered with gold. 
Every man was aware of the dangers that threatened 
the Elector, and hence many in his escort marched with 
downcast eves and sinking hearts. Hut Luther, full of 
faith, revived the courage of his friends by composing, 
and singing with his fine voice that beautiful hymn, since 
become so famous : Ein* Feste Burg ist Unser Gott! y 
Here again is a picturesque origin found for the hymn, 
but one improbable on its face, and contradicted by the 
fact that at the time referred to Luther's hymn had 
already appeared in print. Various monographs have 
been published advocating other dates and occasions. 
Undeterred by these, Scherer, the recent historian of 
German Literature, states with entire confidence that the 
hymn was written in October, 1527, at the approach of 
the plague. Luther's biographer, Julius Kostlin, in the 
later editions of the Life, accepts that date as probably 
correct. And with that probability we must rest. The 
actual evidence in the matter is the appearance of the 
hymn in print. Some years ago it was found in a muti- 
lated copy of a Wittenberg hymn book of 1529; and 
more lately report was made of its discovery in an 
earlier issue, dating apparently from February, 1528. 
It was already set to the glorious tune, believed by many 
to be composed by Luther himself, to which it has been 
sung ever since. The best opinion of the present time 


is that not any of the tunes furnished by Luther were 
original compositions, but were rather drawn from sacred 
or popular sources. That of " Kin' Feste Burg," it is 
claimed, was developed from an old Gregorian melody. 
Such a hymn, with such a tune, spread quickly, as 
may well be believed ; " quickly, as if the angels had 
been the carriers," one enthusiastic writer has said. But 
they were men and not angels who spread Luther's 
hymn of faith and courage from heart to heart and from 
lip to lip. It thrilled them like a trumpet blast, en- 
couraging the faint-hearted and nerving the brave to 
fight the battle of the Lord. It was, as Heine said, the 
Marseillaise of the Reformation. It was sung at Augs- 
burg during the Diet, and in all the churches of Saxony, 
often against the protest of the priest. It was sung in 
the streets ; and, so heard, comforted the hearts of 
Melanchthon, Jonas, and Cruciger, as they entered 
Weimar, when banished from Wittenberg in 1547. It 
was sung by poor Protestant emigrants on their way 
into exile, and by martyrs at their death. It is woven 
into the web of the history of Reformation times, and it 
became the true national hymn of Protestant Germany- 
Gustavus Adolphus ordered it sung by his army before 
the battle of Leipzig, in 1 631, and on the field of that 
battle it was repeated, more than two centuries after- 
ward, by the throng assembled at the jubilee of the 
Gustavus Adolphus Association. Again, it was the 
battle hymn of his army at Lutzen, in 1632, in which the 
King was slain, but his army won the victory. It has 
had a part in countless celebrations commemorating the 
men and events of the Reformation ; and its first line is 
engraved on the base of Luther's monument at Witten- 


berg. And it is dear still to the German people ; one of 
the hymns lodged in their memories and hearts, ready for 
the occasion. An imperishable hymn! not polished and 
artistically wrought, but rugged and strong like Luther 

himself, whose very words seem like deeds. 

Among Luther's hymns (some thirty-six in all) this 
occupies the supreme place, because it is the fullest 
expression of what he was as a man and as a reformer. 
" It is a true picture of his simple faith in Christ, and of 
his immovable trust in God, his forgetfulness of self and 
entire consecration of his life and all that he held dear 
to that Saviour who, he doubted not. would speedily, 
gloriously, and for ever, triumph over Satan and all his 
hosts, by that word which he was the honored instru- 
ment once more to proclaim to the world." 

The Translator of the Hymn 

The translating of Luther's hymn began very early. 
His hymns seemed to the early Protestants like a part 
of their confession of the new faith ; and as Lutheran 
ideas spread into other countries, the hymns were trans- 
lated, and sung by the people in their own tongues. In 
the English Reformation, however, they had no part. 
While an exile in Germany, toward the middle of the 
sixteenth century, Myles Coverdale came into contact 
with them, and made versions of a number, which he 
printed in his Goostly Psalmes and Spirituall Songes. He 
seems to have been more interested in Luther's tunes 
than in the words. The forty-sixth Psalm in his book is 
in the metre o( " Kin' Feste Burg," but only the first four 
lines follow Luther's hymn. The first real translation into 
English is probably that contained in Lyra Davidica, 


published in London in 1708, and, like the book itself, 

The next version appeared in Psalmodia Germanica, 

a book of translations of German hymns published at 
London in 1722, by John Christian Jacobi, who had 
charge of the Royal German Chapel at St. James's 
Palace. This interests us more, because a reprint of the 
book came from the press of Hugh Gaine in New York 
in 1756. It was the first hymnal used in Lutheran 
services in English in this country, and introduced " Kin' 
Feste Burg" here as an English hymn. This version 
was reprinted by Dr. Kunze, of New York, in his Lu- 
theran hymn book of 1795. But in after years, both in 
England and this country, knowledge of the hymn was 
mostly confined to Germans until Carlyle called atten- 
tion to it in his now famous essay, " Luther's Psalm," 
printed in Frascr s Magazine for 1831. Since that date 
very many writers, both English and American, have 
attempted versions of the hymn ; how many, it would be 
hard to say. The Rev. Dr. Bernhard Pick has collected 
eighty different translations in a little book, but there 
are many more. Of these versions, some are poor 
enough ; and of them all, only two have proved widely 

To translate a hymn into another language, and yet to 
preserve the spirit and the form of the original, is always 
a difficult task. But to do it in such a way that a foreign 
people shall love to sing the hymn in their own tongue 
is a feat of which any one may be proud. One of the 
two successful versions is the translation made by Thomas 
Carlyle, and printed in his "Luther's Psalm" in 1831. 
Carlyle's understanding of Luther, and his own gift of 


downright speech, well fitted him for his undertaking. 
In many respects his is the best version of the hymn in 
English ; and in Great Britain it is the one most generally 
sung, although some changes are made in it, in most 
cases, to fit it for such a use. The other successful trans- 
lation is American. It was made by a Unitarian clergy- 

*/mcrt4j6~ Jlktn /<rAv tisf&l lof sj/^&d^* 


man, the Rev. Frederic Henry Hedge, and first appeared 
in 1852, in the second edition of Dr. Furness's Gems of 



German Verse. A year later Dr. Hedge included it 
(just as it stands in The Hym nal and here) in Hymns for 
the Church of Christ. 

The translator did his work well. His version is 
worthy to stand beside Carlyle's, and for church use as a 
hymn is probably the better of the two. It has become 
the accepted version of Luther's hymn in this country, 
and now finds a place in the great majority of recent 
American hymnals of the better kind. Perhaps we 
hardly realize that Luther's hymn is gradually becoming 
one of the standard hymns of the American Church. 
More than once in late years it has happened that classes 
in our colleges have adopted it by vote as their class 
hymn. To this growing appreciation of the hymn several 
things contribute. One is the growth of historical feel- 
ing, making more of historical associations. Another is 
the clear ring of faith in the hymn itself, never more 
appealing than now. Still another is the quality of the 
old chorale to which the words are set. But Dr. Hedge's 
great success in producing such a version as makes us 
feel that we are singing Luther's hymn itself, must also 
be placed high among the causes which are acclimating 
the old German hymn. 

Dr. Hedge was decidedly a man of mark in New Eng- 
land ; a thinker and scholar of influence. His life is 
linked with Harvard University by close ties. His 
mother was the granddaughter of one of its presidents, 
and his father a professor there for over thirty years. 
He himself was born at Cambridge, December 12th, 
1805, was graduated in arts by Harvard in 1825, and in 
divinity three years later. While still pastor of a church 
at Brookline, in 1857, he became Professor of Church 


History, and in 1872 Professor of German, in the univer- 
sity. This latter chair he held until 1 88 1, and lived until 
August 2 1 st, 1890. 

Dr. Hedge reached manhood at a time when there was 
great intellectual unrest in New England, and much 
excitement on moral and religious questions. It culmi- 
nated in what is generally called the Transcendental 
Movement for a more spiritual philosophy. Dr. Channing 
was probably the leader of this movement, but Dr. Hedge 
took a most active part in it. He was one of the founders 
of the Transcendental Club of Boston, and of its eccen- 
tric organ, The Dial. Dr. Hedge's particular share in 
this movement seems to have been to make known and 
expound the literature, and especially the philosophy, 
of Germany. Before going to Harvard he had spent 
several years as a student in Germany. These made him 
so familiar with the language that it became to him prac- 
tically a second mother-tongue, and gave him a sympathy 
with German thought, of which he remained a student 
all his life. He published, in 1848, a large volume of 
The Prose Writers of Germany, which became a standard 
work ; and by lectures, review articles, and books, did 
much to make the philosophers of Germany more wel- 
come than they had been in New England. 

This translation of Luther's hymn, therefore, was quite 
in line with Dr. Hedge's special work. For keeping his 
memory green in the world it is, no doubt, the most 
effective piece of work he ever did. It was a little piece 
of work. And yet nothing less than his own religious 
nature and strong religious feeling, his poetic tempera- 
ment and gift for making verse, his familiarity with 
German and practiced skill in translating it — nothing less 



than all these things, combined in the one man, made 
success in that little piece of work possible. 

Dr. Hedge's connection with the hymnody of the 
Church at large does not extend much beyond this con- 
tribution of his translation of the great Reformer's hymn. 
He holds an honorable place in the succession of Ameri- 
can editors. In cooperation with the Rev. Frederick D. 
Huntington (then a Unitarian, afterward Bishop in the 
Protestant Episcopal Church) he prepared, and published 
in 1853 for use in Unitarian churches, the Hymns for 
the Church of Christ already referred to. It had, and 
deserved, much success, being of a high order both 
poetically and spiritually. The book was worth while, 
if only because it introduced to the churches that fine 
morning hymn, " Now, when the Dusky Shades of 
Night, Retreating" (The Hymnal, No. 8). If, indeed, 
the editors had been careful to make a note of the 
authorship or source of that hymn (now apparently irre- 
vocably lost) their service would be still more appreci- 
ated by the curious. Dr. Hedge contributed a number 
of original hymns to the book. One of the best is that 
beginning, " Beneath Thine hammer, Lord, I lie." An- 
other, which sets forth the cross as the sign of Christ's 
leadership, beginning, " 'Twas the day when God's 
Anointed," has particular merit, judged from its own 
point of view. But none of Dr. Hedge's original hymns 
has come into more than a limited use, even within 
strictly Unitarian circles. For that reason any inquiry 
into his theological position and views is less pertinent. 
It is just as well, since it would be difficult to classify 
him as connected with any special school of thought. 
He distrusted system and cared little for logical con- 


sistency. His position was altogether independent and 
sometimes undefined. Certainly he hewed a path far 
beyond the conventions of Christian theology. What 
we have to be especially grateful for is the undisturbed 
reflection he gave forth of the spirit and words of 
Luther's hymn. 

Some points for Discussion 

(1) Luther seems to have been accustomed to refer to 
his hymn as the 46th Psalm. This is interesting as 
showing the source of Luther's inspiration ; but can the 
hymn be said to be a version of that psalm ? 

(2) The following analysis of the hymn has been 
made : " In stanza i. we see our stronghold and its be- 
siegers ; in stanza ii. our weakness, our Saviour's power 
and might ;' in stanza iii. the vanity of the Prince of this 
World ; in stanza iv. whatever earthly goods we lose we 
have our true treasure in heaven." Is the analysis 
satisfactory ? 

(3) It is interesting to compare Dr. Hedge's translation 
with such others as one has access to. Carlyle's, in his 
essay, " Luther's Psalm," is to be found in all editions of 
his works. A version by Longfellow can be found 
imbedded in his " Golden Legend." Many of the later 
versions have no individuality, but are merely the old 
materials worked over and slightly rearranged. A trans- 
lation by Thomas I. Zimmerman, one of the publishers 
of the Reading Daily Tutus and Dispatch^ and printed 
in that newspaper in 1888, is thought by some to be an 
exception. " Nothing is more curious," a writer in The 
Athen&um remarked in 1897, "than the way in which 
translators go on working in beaten paths." Certainly 


the beaten paths offer least hope of pioneer work, but 
each fresh comer, finding no existing translation that 
seems perfectly satisfactory, doubtless hopes to straighten 
the path a little here and there. And the same qualities 
of an original that moved its first translator to try to 
express what he found there move others in the same 
way. It is interesting to note that even the Quaker 
heart of YVhittier responded to the trumpet-blast of 
Luther's psalm. He entitled one of his poems in war 
time, " Kin' Feste Burg ist Unser Gott," writing it also 
in the metre of the original. 



The Text of the Hymn 

i Abide with me : fast falls the eventide ; 

The darkness deepens ; Lord, with me abide : 
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee, 
Help of the helpless, O abide with me. 

2 Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day ; 
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away; 
Change and decay in all around I see ; 

Thou who changest not, abide with me. 

3 I need Thy presence every passing hour; 

What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power ? 
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be ? 
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me. 

4 I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless : 
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness. 
Where is death's sting ? where, grave, thy victory ? 

1 triumph still, if Thou abide with me. 

5 Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes ; 
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies: 
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee : 
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me. 

Rev. Henry Francis Lyte, 1847 

NOTE. — Five verses of the original eight (see under "Some Points for 
Discussion "). 


170 studies of familiar hymns 

The story of the Hymn 

The darkness that deepens in the hymn is the shadow 
of death creeping over the poet himself, whose last song 
it was. The Rev. Henry Francis Lyte, who was pastor 
as well as poet, had been for nearly twenty-five years in 
charge of the district church at Lower Brixham on the 
shores of Torbay, England. Originally a little fishing 
village, it had grown into a somewhat disorderly and 
immoral district, with a rough and uneducated popula- 
tion. It seems a strange post for a gentle poet, but Mr. 
Lyte exerted a great influence over the sailors and fisher- 
men, for whom he wrote songs, as well as hymns for 
their children in his schools. Never robust, he became 
year by year less fit for the heavy duties of the post, 
until the time came when he broke down utterly, and 
could live only by spending the winters in the warmer 
climate of Southern Europe. He had come home to 
spend the summer of 1847 with his church, but had lain 
extremely ill. Sunday, the 4th of September, was the 
last day of his permitted stay in England, and he shocked 
his family by announcing his intention to preach once 
more to his own people. " His weakness, and the possi- 
ble danger attending the effort, were urged to prevent it ; 
but in vain. He felt sure he should be enabled to fulfil 
his wish, and feared not for the result." He did preach, 
and, although i^Teatlv exhausted, assisted at the celebra- 
tion of the Holy Communion. In the evening of that 
same day he placed in the hands of a member of his 
family the manuscript of the hymn " Abide with Me," 
together with a tune he had composed for it. On the 
following dav he started for the South, but did not live 


to complete the journey. When within a few hours of 
Nice he was attacked by influenza, which soon developed 
alarming symptoms, and after some days of suffering he 
passed away. 

It deepens the pathos of these circumstances to be 
told by Mr. Lyte's daughter (in her Memoir) that he 
was much distressed by difficulties which had arisen 



among his people. A recent visitor to Lower Brixham 
records a local tradition that a defection of some of his 
church workers is referred to in the words of the first 
verse, " When other helpers fail." 

But the story of the hymn has a brighter side. It is 
pleasant to think of it in connection with another poem 
he left behind him, called " Declining Days." In this 
the poet asks himself why he should sigh at the thought 
of approaching death. He is described by one who 


loved him as a cheerful and unselfish Invalid ; but this 
touching poem shows, none the less, that he shared the 
regret common to invalids that his life had been frus- 
trated by illness, and that he was only a burden to his 
friends. Death, he says, would seem even sweet could 
he think that in his narrow bed he should not be wholly 
mute or useless, but should help or heal some living 
heart by his verse : — 

" Some simple strain, some spirit-moving lay, 
Some sparklet of the Soul, that still might live 
When I was passed to clay ! " 

The poem closes with the prayer : — 

" O Thou ! whose touch can lend 
Life to the dead, Thy quick' ning grace supply, 
And grant me, swanlike, my last breath to spend 
In song that may not die ! " 

Not often are the prayers and longings of a disap- 
pointed heart so literally fulfilled. It was given to 
the poet to sing that swan-song that should not die. 
The Rev. Dr. George D. Baker, of Philadelphia, has 
told the present writer of meeting a young man at a 
church door in Nice one Sunday morning. They could 
not get in and walked together to another church, and 
after service went to visit Lyte's grave in the English 
cemetery. While they stood beside the grave the young 
stranger became much affected as he told what the 
hymn had been to him. How far, indeed, is the author 
of such a hymn from being " mute or useless in his 
narrow bed " ! 

It would seem strange to us if " Abide with Me " were 
omitted from the hymn books. But its present position 


was not attained immediately, cither in England or in 
this country. In 1855 Mr. Beecher, in his Plymouth 

Collection, put three verses at the service of American 
Congreerationalists. In 1861 Dr. Henrv A. Boardman, 
of Philadelphia, in his Selection, introduced the entire 
hymn to Presbyterians, especially of his own congrega- 
tion. But he preceded it by the notice : " [For reading 
only]." That notice reads curiously now. But he may 
have considered, as some still consider, the hymn too 
personal and intense for congregational use ; or more 
likely, he knew of no tune that would carry the long 
lines. Indeed, the actual use of the hymn dates from 
the publication, that same year, of the now familiar tune 
in Hymns Ancient and Modern. After one of the meet- 
ings of the committee which compiled that book it was 
suddenly remembered that there was no tune for Hymn 
27, "Abide with Me"; whereupon Dr. Monk, the musi- 
cal editor (so he told a friend), sat down and composed 
in ten minutes the tune that has carried Hymn 27 to the 
ends of the earth. 


Mr. Lyte was born June 1st, 1793, near Kelso, Scot- 
land, but was the son of a captain in the English army. 
Both parents died while he was a child, leaving him to 
struggle for a liberal education. Several prizes for poems 
gained at Trinity College, Dublin, were a welcome addi- 
tion to his slender income, which he also supplemented 
by teaching; and he was graduated in 18 14. He began 
the study of medicine, but in 181 5 was ordained to the 
ministry in the Church of England. 

His first charge was " a dreary Irish curacy," within 


seven miles of the town of Wexford — " Remote from 
towns, in almost perfect seclusion, giving myself up to 
the duties of my situation, writing my sermons, visiting 
my sick, catechizing my children, without other com- 
panions than my flute, my pen, and my books." 

While there he had a strange spiritual experience. 
He was called in during the last illness of a neighboring 
clergyman, whom he attended for some weeks. The 
clergyman, Mr. Lyte tells us, bore the highest character 
for benevolence, piety, and good sense. But his last days 
had brought distress and not peace, and he spent them 
in reviewing anxiously his own spiritual condition and 
grounds for hope. The sick man insisted upon going 
into an examination of the evidences for a future state, 
for the trustworthiness of the Scriptures as a revelation 
from God, and finally of the means by which a happy 
eternity was to be attained. " My blood almost curdled," 
Mr. Lyte writes, " to hear the dying man declare and 
prove, with irrefutable clearness, that both he and I had 
been utterly mistaken in the means we had adopted for 
ourselves, and recommended to others, if the explana- 
tory epistles of St. Paul were to be taken in their plain 
and literal sense. You can hardly perhaps conceive the 
effect of all this, proceeding from such a man, in such a 
situation." The dying man found peace, and Mr. Lyte 
went forth a changed man, with a new spirit within 
him and a new message on his lips. 

The strain of these weeks, with subsequent labors, 
proved too great for his strength. He became very ill, 
and was threatened with consumption — a shadow from 
which his after life was never to be free. He traveled 
on the continent, and on his return, " after being jostled 


4 from one curacy to another," he settled down to work 
in a Cornwall village. Here he married, and soon after 
moved into the quiet country near Lymington, where he 
wrote many of his poems, and the Tales on the Lord's 
Prayer which Christopher North liked so well. In 1823 

Mr. Lyte took charge of the district church at Lower 
Brixham, where he was to do the great work of his 
ministry. This charge he retained until his death, which 
occurred near Nice, France, on November 20th, 1847. 

" A simple marble cross in the English cemetery at 
Nice fitly marks the last resting-place of one whose 
highest honor and desire in active life had been to exalt 


" the Cross ; who meekly bore the Cross through years 
of suffering, and who, trusting in the merits of his 
Blessed Saviour's Cross and Passion alone, calmly re- 
signed his mortal life, in the sure and certain hope of a 
glorious immortality.'' With such words Mrs. Hogg 
brines to a close the Memoir of her father which she 
prefixed to the volume of his literary Remains. 

Mr. Lyte's position as a hymn writer is a very high 
one. An earlier hymn, " Jesus, I my Cross I lave Taken " 
{The Hymnal, No. 356), has been in the past even more 
used than this. Many other excellent hymns have been 
taken from his Spirit of the Psalms, a book originally 
printed in 1834 for the use of his own congregation. 
His miscellaneous poems are of much less import, and 
rarely reveal the creative touch of imagination. One of 
them, " On a Naval Officer Buried in the Atlantic," was 
set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan. As recently as 
1868 a volume of Lyte's Miscellaneous Poems was re- 
printed in London, with a prefatory notice of " a con- 
tinual demand for" them. The demand even then was 
perhaps less the call for specific poems of his than a 
curiosity to see what else the author of such hymns had 
written. But in the hymns lay his strength. It is dis- 
tinction enough for one man to have written " Abide 
with Me." 

Some points for discussion 

(i) Is this hymn an evening hymn or not? It is 
usually so classed in the hymnals. On the other hand, 
Mr. Ellerton, himself a distinguished hymn writer, says 
that this is done " apparently on the ground of the first 
two lines, and their similarity in sound to two lines in 


"Keble's 'Sun of My Soul.' This is a curious instance 
of the misapprehension of the true meaning of the hymn 

by those among whom it is popular ; for a very little 
consideration will suffice to show that there is not 
throughout the hymn the slightest allusion to the close 
of the natural day : the words of St. Luke xxiv. 29 are 
obviously used in a sense wholly metaphorical." 

(2) In Mr. Lyte's manuscript the second line began, 
" The darkness thickens." In the hymn as printed 
almost at once it was changed (no doubt by Mr. Lyte 
himself) to " The darkness deepens." In the first line 
of the last verse Mr. Lyte originally wrote, " Hold, then, 
Thy cross " ; and so it was first printed and again by 
his daughter after his death. But in the later edition 
of his Poems it reads, " Hold Thou Thy cross." There 
being some uncertainty here of what Mr. Lyte's final 
preference was, was it right to use in The Hymnal the 
reading that is preferable and also universally accepted ? 

(3) The Southern Presbyterian Church has been en- 
gaged in the preparation of a new hymnal (published in 
1902). A correspondent of the Hymnal Committee 
insisted that the line just referred to must not go in 
because suggesting " Romish belief and practice." Is 
there adequate ground for this proposed exclusion ? 

(4) The hymn had eight verses in all. Hymns Ancient 
and Modern, which brought the hymn into use, omitted 
the third, fourth, and fifth, thus reducing it to five verses. 
This course has been generally followed. It is plain 
that eight verses of lines so long set to a tune of slow 
movement will not be actually sung ; and there is 
general agreement that the omitted verses do not help 
the five that make a hymn already rounded and com- 


plete. It is, perhaps, an open question whether the 
whole of such a poem should be given in a hymn book 
for the sake of completeness. The omitted verses are 
as follows : — 

N a i>ricf glance I l*ey, a pacing word ; 
IJut. as Thou dwell' st with Thy disciples, Lord, 
Familiar, condescending, patient, free, 
Come, not to sojourn, but abide, with me. 

"4 Come not in terrors as the King of kii 

But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings ; 
Tears for all woes, a heart for even- plea; 
Come, Friend of sinners, and thu- bide with me. 

•• 5 Thou on my head in early youth didst smile : 
And. though rebellious and perverse meanwhile, 
Thou hast not left me. oft as I left Thee : 
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me."' 

XV! I 



i God biess our native land ; 
Firm may she ever stand 
Through storm and night : 

When the wild tempests rave, 
Ruler of wind and wave, 
Do Thou our country save 

By Thy great might. 

2 For her our prayer shall rise 
To God, above the skies ; 

On Him we wait ; 
Thou who art ever nigh, 
Guarding with watchful eye, 
To Thee aloud we cry, 
God save the State. 

[The first five lines are here attributed to the Rev. 
Charles Timothy Brooks as author or trans- 
lator, (about i 1832-35; the remainder to Dr 
John Sullivan Dwight, iaboutt 1844] 

NOTE. — Of this hymn there can be no authoritative text. That here 
printed is taken from Lowell Mason's The Psaltery, 18.15. 
Two earlier texts are quoted in the Study. 




The one thing about this little hymn that seems certain 
is its excellence. And its excellence is not lessened by 
the fact that the hymn is cosmopolitan. It claims, indeed, 
to be translated from the German. Whether or not that 
is so, all who speak English, be they American or British, 
can sing it side by side. The meaning of the hymn is 
plain to all who love their native land. The authorship 
of the hymn is much less certain, and has all the interest 
of a puzzle. 

(i) Mrs. HaishaiL r s Claim. — One day, in 1895, the 
writer saw, on a friend's table at Germantown, a little 
book of poems by Sarah E. Henshaw. Turning the 
leaves, his eye caught this hymn printed among the other 
poems of that lady as her own. Greatly surprised, he 
inquired of his friend who she was. He learned that she 
was a lady of high character, of New England lineage, 
who had lately died in California, and was the true 
author of this hymn. The writer at once started an 
investigation. He secured from Mrs. Henshaw's family 
a copy of a letter in which she had made her own state- 
ment of her claim as follows : " I wrote the verses just 
after the fall of Fort Sumter. I was then living in Illinois. 
I learned from the papers that the Rhode Island volun- 
teers had gone through to the front, singing 'John 
Brown's Body,' and that Governor Buckingham had put 
the organization of our Connecticut regiments in charge 
of my uncle, General Dan. Tyler. With a heart on fire, 
and desirous that the Connecticut soldiers should also 
have something to sing, I wrote the verses in question. 
That every one might know the music, I wrote them for 


" the air ' God Save the Kinj^.' I sent them by post to my 
uncle with much hesitation, because he would probably 
think it all nonsense. Neither did I attach my name to 
the verses : I wrote at the caption, ' By a daughter of 
Connecticut.' I kept no copy, sent them to no pub- 
lisher, heard nothing of them, took it for granted that 
my uncle had thrown them aside. 

" After the war I moved out here [Oakland]. I drove 
down the street one Fourth of July to hear the school- 
children sing. They sang my verses — those verses! I 
looked at the programme; there were the lines. 'Why! / 
wrote that !' I explained to [a friend]. As I wrote them, 
the poem contained several verses. Here were only two. 
But I was glad to get them. They were the first and the 
last. In writing them, I .felt much dissatisfied with the 
last line of the last verse, viz. : ' God save the State ' ; 
and had earnestly cast about without avail for a stronger 
climax to match my rhyme. But here it was, just the 
same. I smiled at the recollection, as I carefully put the 
programme into my reticule." 

(2) Mr. Brooks's Claim. — Mrs. Henshaw's letter was 
written to the Rev. Charles W. Wendte. Now it hap- 
pened that Mr. Wendte had been the friend of the Rev. 
Charles T. Brooks, a poet and translator of much ability, 
pastor for many years of a Unitarian church at New- 
port. While sympathizing with Mrs. Henshaw's wish to 
establish her authorship, Mr. Wendte writes her : " My 
dear old friend, Mr. Brooks, whose memoir I wrote, 
called it his. He wrote so much that it is not at all 
unlikely he was wrong." 

Mr. Brooks certainly claimed the hymn. In 1875 his 
friend Dr. Putnam printed the following statement, ap- 

£ ^JjfcZ' tutu- **r&^c Ur^Ase* *^> ^S^L 



parently by Mr. Brooks's authority: "Compilers and 
hymnologists have cither marked ' God Bless Our Native 
Land ' anonymous or else have attributed it to John S. 
Dwight Mr. Brooks translated it from the German 

while he was a member of the Divinity School at Cam- 
bridge [1832—35]. It was shortly afterward altered in 
some of its lines by Mr. Dwight, and in its changed 
form was first introduced, it is supposed, into one of 
Lowell Mason's singing-books. Hence, doubtless, it 
came to be credited so widely to Mr. Dwight himself. 
We give the original translation of it by Mr. Brooks : — 

" ' God bless our native land ! 
Firm may she ever stand 

Through storm and night ! 
When the wild tempests rave, 
Ruler of wind and wave, 
Father Eternal, save 

Us by thy might ! 

" ' Lo ! our hearts' prayers arise 
Into the upper skies, 
Regions of light ! 
He who hath heard each sigh 
Watches each weeping eve : 
He is forever nigh, 
Venger of Right !' " 

(3) Dr. Dwight 's Claim. — " I hasten to say that the 
hymn, ' God Bless Our Native Land,' has been ac- 
credited to me for nearly fifty years, though I really 
had forgotten ever writing it." So answered, in 1893, 
Dr. John S. Dwight, the famous musical critic of Boston, 
when asked what light he could throw upon the matter. 
Dr. Dwight goes on to say : " Brooks reminded me 
once of our doing it piecemeal together. Certainly, it 


" dates far back of Fort Sumter. About the year 1 844 I 
translated many songs from a German song book for 

^iZsi^ Zrit^ Q/Cju <Z*s-<^2 /D^^/ / 



Lowell Mason's collection for our public schools — 
sometimes translating, sometimes making a stanza or 
two at first hand. I presume this was one of them. 
Brooks did the same thing for Dr. Mason. I did the 
work hastily and cheaply, I never thought of the song 


Ten years earlier (1883) Dr. Dwight had written an- 
other letter, now in possession of the present writer, 
accompanying the autograph verse here reproduced. He 
explains that he transcribes and signs only this first verse 
of the hymn, " which I am pretty confident is mine." 
As to the second verse (as given in The Hymnal and 
here) he is less confident. " This also I think may have 
been made by me, but am not sure." 

(4) Mr. Hickson's Claim. — As early as 1869 an Eng- 
lish musician, Mr. William E. Hickson, had seen Dr. 
Dwight's name given as the author of " God Bless Our 
Native Land." He wrote to Mr. Sedgwick, the hym- 
nologist, stating that he had written the hymn in 1836 
as a new national anthem, and that it first appeared in 
his book called The Singing Master, published in the 
same year. 

Some Points for Discussion 

(1) Mr. Hickson's claim is easily disposed of. It is a 
fact that he published in 1836 a hymn beginning, — 

" God bless our native land, 
May heav'n's protecting hand 
Still guard our shore !" 

The first line, curiously enough, is identical with that 
of the American hymn. But the present writer has 
examined Mr. Hickson's book, and can state that no 
single line of his hymn, except the first, has even a re- 
semblance to any line of the American hymn in any one 
of its versions. 

(2) The claim of Mrs. Henshaw must be disposed of 
by asking one question. How could a hymn which had 


been printed as early as 1841 have been written by her 
in 1 86 1 ? That lady made her elaim in perfect good 
faith, none the less, and died with the cherished convic- 
tion that she was the true author. She was the victim 
of one of those tricks of memory to which we are all 

(3) The claims of Mr. Brooks and Dr. Dwight are 
more difficult to adjust, and neither is presented in satis- 
factory shape. In an ordinary case, Dr. Putnam's ac- 
count of the origin of the hymn would be accepted 
without question. But in this case of disputed author- 
ship, Mr. Brooks should have furnished all particulars, 
such as the evidence for the date, the original draft, if 
existing, a reference to its first publication, etc. He 
offers nothing beyond the bare statement, whatever 
proof he may have held. But, on the other hand, Dr. 
Dwight offers no more, and plainly he held no proof of 
his claim. He speaks too from revived recollections of 
an old event to which, at the time, he attached no im- 
portance and had long forgotten. 

The earliest appearance of the hymn known to the 
present writer is in 1841, in Lowell Mason's Carmina 
Sacra. There the first five lines agree with Dr. Putnam's 
text. The remainder is changed and reads : — 

u Do thou our country save, 
By thy great might. 

2 " For her our prayer shall rise, 
To God above the skies ; 

On him we wait : 
Thou who has heard each sigh, 
Watching each weeping eye, 
Be thou forever nigh : 

God save the State." 



In 1845 the hymn appears again in Mr. Mason's 
Psaltery, this time in a revised form, agreeing with the 

text as printed here and in most modern books. 

By comparing the " original translation " with this 
text, it will be seen that Mr. Brooks's claim covers only 


five lines of the hymn as at present sung. Each claim- 
ant seems to have a recollection that the other con- 
tributed something to the hymn. We may, therefore, 
accept their joint authorship of the hymn as it now 
stands. And may we not make a reasonable adjustment 
of their claims that substantially admits both ? Mr. 
Brooks wrote (or translated) in the thirties the hymn as 


given by Dr. Putnam. By him or Dr. Dwight (jointly, 
perhaps) it was improved before 1S41. Finally, Dr. 
Dwight rewrote the hymn for Lowell Mason, not later 
than KS44, using the first five lines by Mr. Brooks. 

This adjustment seems practically to reconcile both 
statements. May it not be accepted as at least more 
than probable? The only bit of evidence refusing to be 
linked in this conclusion is the verse signed by Dr. 
Dwight, which he was u pretty confident " was his, and 
which contains the very lines ascribed to Mr. Brooks. 
But, as Mrs. Henshaw's claim reminds us, the memory 
cannot be trusted to pick up forgotten lines after so long 
an interval of time ; and it looks to the present writer as 
though Dr. Dwight himself did not feel so very con- 
fident about the details. 

The authors of the Hymn 

We are now in a position to refer with some confidence 
to the joint authors of the hymn. 

The Rev. Charles T. Brooks was born at Salem, Massa- 
chusetts, on June 20th, 18 13. He was graduated by 
Harvard College in 1832, and by the Divinity School at 
Cambridge in 1835. His principal pastorate, at Newport, 
Rhode Island, began in 1837 and continued until 1871, 
when he resigned through failure of his sight and health. 
He died on June 14th, 1883. 

Mr. Brooks was a poet and scholar, and also a diligent 
man of letters. The list of his works, original and 
translated, is a very long one, and their character is such 
as reflects honor upon their author's name. Gentle and 
retiring, he was greatly loved in life, though it is not 
likeh' that his work ever took hold of a very wide public. 



His translations of Goethe's "Faust" and of Richter's 
44 Hesperus " and " Titan " are the best remembered of 
his productions. Of his hymns none has ever come into 
general use. 

One of Mr. Brooks's most intimate friends, his class- 
mate at Harvard and his co-laborer in several literary 
undertakings, was John S. Dwight. He was the son of 



Dr. John Dwight, of Boston, where he was born on May 
13th, 181 3. He also was graduated by Harvard in 1832, 
and by the Divinity School in 1836. His first and only 
pastoral charge was that of a little Unitarian congrega- 
tion at Northampton, Massachusetts, and lasted only one 
year. At its close he quietly retired from the ministry. 


Bashful, sensitive, and lacking confidence in himself, he 
was hardly at home in the pulpit. He shrank too from 
any outward expression of religious feeling; in later 
years developing great dislike to church organization and 
methods, and ceasing to attend religious services. After 
the ministry came the years of his connection with the 
Brook Farm experiment, in which he was an active 

But, wherever he was, the real enthusiasm of his nature 
was for music. He founded, in 1 852, Dwights Journal 
of Music, which, against great financial difficulties, he 
continued until 1 881. It gave him a recognized position 
as the leader of Boston's musical interests, and through 
it and other labors he did great service to music as a 
branch of liberal culture. 

Dr. D wight (he became a Doctor of Music) was of 
slender build and short stature. He was mild in manner, 
of a sweet and cheerful nature, and, however shy, was 
"clubbable,'' being one of the famous Saturday Club. 
He was very positive in his opinions and uncompromising 
in maintaining his intellectual and aesthetic ideals. Dr. 
Dwight was singularly unfitted for the task of living. 
He met life in a spirit of helplessness that appealed 
greatly to his friends, and which, in spite of their efforts, 
kept him in a struggle with poverty all his days. He 
died at Boston on September 5th, 1893. 

Note. — My friend, the Rev. James Mearns, of Buntingford, England, 
writes me of his discovery that this hymn is a rather free ver- 
sion of the first and third stanzas of a German hymn (" Gott 
segne Sachsenland"), by August Mahlmann, that was first 
printed in 1815. 



I Father of mercies, in Thy word 
What endless glory shines ; 
For ever be Thy Name adored 
For these celestial lines. 

a Here may the wretched sons of want 
Exhaustless riches find ; 
Riches above what earth can grant, 
And lasting as the mind. 

3 Here the Redeemer's welcome voice 

Spreads heavenly peace around ; 
And life and everlasting joys 
Attend the blissful sound. 

4 O may these heavenly pages be 

My ever dear delight ; 
And still new beauties may I see, 
And still increasing light. 

5 Divine Instructor, gracious Lord, 

Be Thou for ever near ; 
Teach me to love Thy sacred word, 
And view my Saviour there. 

Anne Steele, 1760 

NOTE. — Five verses of the original twelve. The text is taken from the 
Poems of Theodosia, vol. i. 


192 studies of familiar hymns 

The Story of the Hymn 

If this hymn were to be taken alone, its story might 
be summed up very briefly. It is a leaf out of an inva- 
lid's spiritual diary, penned in the Baptist parsonage of 
an obscure English village. That leaf bears no date of 
composition, dates being of but little account in the 
monotonous passage of such a life. The hymn first 
appeared in print in 1760 among the other poems of 
Miss Steele, but may have been written some years 
earlier ; and it soon found the place in the hymn books 
which it has always kept. 

The hymn has much more of a story if taken in its 
historical connection with the whole body of Miss Steele's 
hymns. Of these it is one of the best, and it has its 
share in the very conspicuous part they have played in 
the history of our hymnody. 

Miss Steele's verses had long been familiar to her 
friends, but she was modest and reluctant to appear in 
print. It was by the advice and even persuasion of 
others that at length she consented to publish them, and 
then without her name. In 1760 they appeared in two 
volumes, at London, as " Poems on Subjects Chiefly De- 
votional. By Theodosia." If one were now to take up 
the little brown calf books for the first time it would not 
occur to him that Theodosia was a poet of a high order. 
He would perceive, however, that many of the pieces were 
written in the simple metres then used in hymns, and 
were composed with correctness and much tender feel- 
ing. He would probably conclude that they were in- 
tended to be sung, and might even point out a number 
as likely to succeed if put into the hymnals. This 


would be a judgment from the standpoint of our own 
time. To Miss Steele's friends and contemporaries it 


would have seemed faint praise indeed. They hailed 
her as a great light risen upon the horizon. She made 
an impression upon the Christian feeling of her time 
extraordinary both for its depth and for the wideness of 


its reach. Her hymns entered upon a career of popu- 
larity which we can hardly realize, but of which we 
must try to gain some idea. 

Nine years after the appearance of her Poems two 
English Baptist clergymen, Dr. John Ash and Dr. Caleb 
Evans, published at Bristol a successful hymn book, 
containing in all four hundred and twelve hymns. Of 
these no less than sixty-two are by Miss Steele, and the 
preface has a special paragraph in her honor. After 
her death Dr. Evans printed in 1780 a new edition 
of her Poems, including a third volume she had made 
ready for the press. Seven years later Dr. John Rippon 
published his Selection, which was destined to have 
great vogue among Baptists, and to supersede the Ash 
and Evans book. But even this contained forty-seven 
of Miss Steele's hymns. Dr. Rippon's book was often 
reprinted in the United States, and it extended Miss 
Steele's influence here. A simple fact will serve to show 
how widely her popularity spread and how long it lasted. 
The people of Trinity Church in Boston grew weary of 
singing the authorized Psalm-versions, and in 1808 the 
vestry ventured to print a hymn book for their private 
use. In this book of only one hundred and fifty-two 
hymns fifty-nine are Miss Steele's, and the preface ex- 
plains that " if we have extracted more copiously from 
Mrs. Steele than from any other writer, we have done no 
more than what we thought due to her poetical superi- 
ority, and to the ardent spirit of devotion which breathes 
in her compositions." Such a tribute from within the 
most exclusive of denominations, and from another 
country than her own, reveals something of the great 
influence of Miss Steele's hymns. 


The three volumes of Theodosia's Poems were re- 
printed in Boston in 1808; and the hymns were reprinted 
once more in London as late as 1863 by Daniel Sedgwick, 
the hymnologist. But during the hitter half of the nine- 
teenth century the enthusiasm for what Dr. Evans called 
" those truly sublime composures " has been gradually 
cooling. Many of the hymns are still sung ; some few 
are sung quite widely. But the latest American Baptist 
hymnal (Sursum Con/a, 1898) contains but seven of the 
hymns of Theodosia in a total of eight hundred and 
fifty-six. Even that diminished number is somewhat 
larger than the average in recent hymnals. 

Of Miss Steele's hymns still in use the one perhaps 
best known, and even loved for its tender grace, is that 
generally made to begin, " Father, whate'er of earthly 
bliss" (The Hymnal, No. 511). Another of her hymns, 
beginning "Now I resolve with all my heart" (The 
Hymnal, No. 314), is by many associated with their first 
Communion. And it is quite possible that some who 
use the hymnals would welcome a larger number of 
Miss Steele's hymns than they find there. If these are 
possibly too inward, and even pensive, for congregational 
use, it may well be that they have a further mission for 
private use, especially in cheering the sick room. 

Miss Steele must always remain a figure of unique 
interest in hymnody. She is still the representative 
Baptist hymn writer. She was, too, the first of her sex 
to gain prominence in the hymn books. But her special 
preeminence is independent of her being either Baptist or 
woman : it lies in the extraordinary extent of the contri- 
bution she was permitted to make to the hymnody of the 


The author of the Hymn 

Anne Steele was the daughter of William Steele, a 
successful timber merchant, who was at the same time 
pastor, without salary, of a Baptist church in the village 
of Broughton, England. Broughton lies about midway 
between the two cathedral towns of Salisbury and Win- 
chester. Mr. Garrett Ilorder has described it as " one 
long straggling street of cottages, mostly thatched, with 
here and there a more pretentious house." In a quaint 
stone house in the centre of the village Anne was born 
in May, 17 17, and lived for half a century. Anne's 
father had succeeded his own uncle in the pastorate at 
Broughton, and her mother was the daughter of another 
Baptist clergyman, so that Anne's religious heritage may 
be described as well within the limits of that faith and 
communion. When she was but three years old her 
mother died, and from her seventh year Anne was 
brought up by a stepmother, with much anxiety both for 
her spiritual and bodily health. Of physical health there 
seemed little prospect in a childhood threatened with 
consumption, and even that was lessened by a serious 
injury to her hip. This accident happened to her in 
1835, within a few w r eeks after her father had broken his 
leg in a fall from his horse. The coincidence gave occa- 
sion for a quaint entry in the diary of Anne's stepmother 
(reported by Mr. Horder) : " I desired our Heavenly 
Father to heal all our family's infirm limbs." The 
shadow of a greater grief fell on Miss Steele soon after, 
when the young man she was to marry was drowned 
while bathing in the river on the day before that appointed 
for the wedding. 



Thus feeble in body and chastened in spirit, though 
never losing altogether her natural gift of cheerfulness, 
Miss Steele led a retired life confined almost exclusively 
She never married : the title " Mrs.," 

to her own village 


so often given her in the older books being but a courtesy 
title, then often applied to single ladies. She had been a 
faithful member of her father's church since the age of 
fourteen, and as daughter of a village pastor she employed 


herself in many quiet ministries of service among the 
sick and afflicted about her. Her pleasures were in her 
friends and in the exercise of her poetical talents. While 
her writings have not unnaturally a tone of pensiveness 
and of gentle patience, they show nowhere the least trace 
of the bitterness of defeat. No one can read them with- 
out a kindly regard for her beautiful spirit. In every 
experience her faith was supreme. It sustained her in 
the end through years when she was confined to her 
room in great bodily suffering, and it spoke to those 
about her in her last words : " I know that my Redeemer 
liveth." Miss Steele died in November, 1778, at the age 
of sixty-one, in her brother's house in Broughton, where 
she had gone at her father's death a few years before, and 
where she had received affectionate care. Her body 
was laid in Broughton churchyard, and on her tomb- 
stone are the words : — 

" Silent the lyre, and dumb the tuneful tongue, 

That sung on enrth her great Redeemer's praise ; 
But now in heaven she joins the angelic song, 
In more harmonious, more exalted lays.'' 

No portrait of Miss Steele is known to the present 
writer, and from her sensitive modesty and seclusion it 
may perhaps be inferred that none was taken. Other- 
wise it would be hard to commend her good friend Dr. 
Evans in his choice of a frontispiece for the volume of 
her " Remains " which he published after her death. 
Only a sepulchral urn represents the poetess, to which a 
stilted female figure appeals with outstretched hands and 
the legend : — 

" Forgive the wish that would have kept thee here." 


1 99 

Some Points for discussion 

(1) Do the Scriptures form a suitable subject fur a 
hymn? Has the subject a poetical as well as spiritual 
side, and is it a subject one cares to sing" of? As a 
matter of fact, there are but few desirable hymns on the 
Scriptures. Is not this hymn one of the best ? Notice 


how it relates the Scriptures to God the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost. 

(2) How can the decreased use of Miss Steele's 
hymns be explained? The following; may be suggested 
for consideration as possibly affecting it : Changes in the 
standard of literary merit ; changes in religious feeling 
and in ways of expressing it ; and the enormous in- 


crease in the number of available hymns, but a very- 
small part of which can be included in our hymn books. 

(3) Docs it seem likely that any single writer of the 
present day could gain such preeminence as was ac- 
corded Miss Steele ; or that the Church would be willing 
to receive so large a proportion of its hymns from one 
hand ? Of course the use of Dr. Watts's hymns was 
far more extended and exclusive. But then he may be 
said to have headed a revolution in psalmody, while 
Miss Steele at the best must rank as one of his followers 
rather than as an original force. It was undoubtedly 
the sentimental touch and her evangelical fervor that 
won the day. She has been compared to Miss Haver- 
gal, and the latter has been called " Our Theodosia of 
the nineteenth century." 

(4) This hymn had originally twelve verses, of which 
only six came into use. One of the omitted verses is 
shown in the facsimile. Does it strengthen the hymn ? 




O day of rest and gladness, 

O day of joy and light, 
O balm of care and sadness, 

Most beautiful, most bright ; 
On thee the high and lowly, 

Through ages joined in tune, 
Sing Holy, Holy, Holy, 

To the great God Triune. 

On thee, at the creation, 

The light first had its birth ; 
On thee, for our salvation, 

Christ rose from depths of earth : 
On thee our Lord, victorious, 

The Spirit sent from heaven ; 
And thus on thee, most glorious, 

A triple light was given. 

3 Thou art a port protected 

From storms that round us rise; 
A garden intersected 

With streams of Paradise ; 
Thou art a cooling fountain 

In life's dry, dreary sand ; 
From thee, like Pisgah's mountain, 

We view our promised land. 


4 To-day on weary nations 
The heavenly manna falls : 

To holy convocations 

The silver trumpet calls, 
Where gospel light is glowing 

With pure and radiant beams, 
And living water flowing 

With soul-refreshing streams. 

5 New graces ever gaining 

From this our day of rest, 
We reach the rest remaining 

To spirits of the blest. 
To Holy Ghost be praises, 

To Father, and to Son ; 
The Church her voice upraises 

To Thee, blest Three in One. 

Rev. Christopher Wordsworth, 1862 

Note. — Five verses of the original six : the omitted verse may be found 
under " Some Points for Discussion." The text is taken from 
the author's Holy Year. 


The Duke of Wellington said in 1827 of Dr. Words- 
worth, the Master of Trinity College, " I consider him 
to be the happiest man in the kingdom " ; and being 
asked why, the Duke answered, u Because each of his 
three sons has this year got a university prize !" Of the 
three, Christopher, the youngest, born in 1807, was the 
author of this hymn. He was athletic as well as 
scholarly, and liked to tell how he " caught-out Man- 
ning " (the future Cardinal) at a cricket match. His 
career at Winchester and at Cambridge University was 
one of extraordinary distinction, and at its close he re- 
mained as Fellow of Trinity College and assistant tutor. 



Before he was thirty he was head-master of a great 
school, Harrow. The fourteen years of his mastership 
there may be called also a part of his own education. 
He undertook a reformation of the school in manners 
and discipline with more earnestness than suavity ; and 
though at the end of his anxious years there he left the 
school smaller than he found it, he took with him to a 
larger life new acquirements of tact and forbearance. 

In 1844 Sir Robert Peel made him a Canon of West- 
minster Abbey. In that position he felt called upon to 


resist the appointment of Dr. Arthur Stanley as Dean 
with one of the " pamphlets " inevitable in English 
church controversy. Bitterly opposed as he was to the 
latitudinarianism for which Stanley stood, he tempered 
his earnestness with the courtesy he had learned at 
Harrow, and remained always on the best terms with 


the new Dean. From 1850 fur nineteen years Canon 
Wordsworth was pastor of a country charge, which had 
the striking name of Stanford-in-the-Yale-cum-Goosey. 
Here he lived except when on duty at the Abbey, and 
here he accomplished an enormous amount of scholarly 
work. He had already gained a high position as church- 
man and scholar, writer and preacher, when in 1 cS6(j Mr. 
Disraeli appointed him Bishop of Lincoln. His ad- 
ministration of this large diocese was both strenuous and 
successful until his strength failed in old age. He died 
on March 21st, 1885. 

Christopher Wordsworth's fame as man of letters and 
bishop is greater than as a writer of hymns. The mass 
of his published work is very great and its quality very 
high. His earlier work was in the lines of classical 
study, and his book on Greece itself has obtained some- 
thing of the position of a " classic." But his two life- 
long enthusiams were for " Church Principles " and 
Holy Scripture. And his literary work, covering much 
ground in both these departments, and far beyond them, 
culminated in his massive and learned Commentary on 
the Whole Bible. 

He was a man of very decided opinions, which he 
liked to establish when he could, and at least to express 
when he could do no more. In church matters he was 
for strict and unbending adherence to the Church of 
England pattern. He could be cordial with his Methodist 
neighbors, but he could not agree that their ministers 
should wear the title " Rev." He bore his part in many 
a controversy, never looking to see which side was the 
popular one, but which was right. And if he struck 
stout blows for his somewhat narrow principles, it must 


also be said of him that he kept the friendship of his 
opponents. And that certainly is a good deal to say of 

Bishop Wordsworth's opinions about hymns were just 
as decided as in other directions. He profoundly re- 
gretted that " Hymnology has been allowed to fall into 
the hands of persons who had little reverence for the 
Authority and Teaching of the ancient Christian Church, 
and little acquaintance with her Literature." " The con- 
sequence has been," he said, " that the popular Hym- 
nology of this country has been too often disfigured by 
many compositions blemished by unsound doctrine, and 
even by familiar irreverence and rhapsodical fanaticism ; 
or else it too often rambles on in desultory and unmean- 
ing generalities, or sparkles with a glitter of tinsel imagery 
and verbal prettiness, or endeavors to charm the ear with 
a mere musical jingle of sweet sounds, not edifying the 
mind or warming the heart, nor ministering to the glory 
of Him to whom all Christian worship ought to be 

He thought, too, that our modern hymns were alto- 
gether too egotistical. They make too much of ourselves 
and our personal feelings, and not enough of God and His 
glory. He thought hymns of personal experience might 
do for private use. But for public use in church wor- 
ship he did not approve of them. Church hymns should 
be churchly, expressing the worship of the congregation 
as a body and not as individuals. He would drop the 
pronouns " I " and " mine " from our hymns. We should 
forget ourselves and thank God for His great glory, and 
praise Him not for mercies to us as individuals, but to 
the whole company of faithful people. And especially 


he insisted that the great office and use of hymns was to 
set forth plainly and emphatically the teachings of the 
Scriptures and the Prayer Book. The hymns should 
teach the people the facts and doctrines of Christianity, 
and make " these glorious truths . . . the subject of 
public praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God." His 
idea was that the hymns for each day for which the 
Prayer Book provided services should set forth the 
meaning and lesson of that which the day commemorated. 

The Story of the Hymn 

By way of earning out his views in hymnody Bishop 
Wordsworth (while still Canon of Westminster) prepared 
a hymn book called The Holy Year, and published it in 
1862. For this book he wrote one hundred and seven- 
teen original hymns, and for a later edition ten more. 
All of them are good if looked at from the author's 
standpoint. But some things are best taught in prose, 
and when an effort is made to put them into verse the 
verse becomes prosy. And some of Bishop Words- 
worth's hymns are prosaic and labored. He had, never- 
theless, a vein of poetry in him (he was the nephew and 
biographer of Wordsworth, the great poet\ and his best 
hymns are excellent, not only from his standpoint, but 
from any standpoint. 

It cannot be said that The Holy Year in its entirety 
ever won much favor. Its title and its method of furnish- 
ing a hymn for each day and occasion for which the 
Prayer Book provided services at once challenged com- 
parison with Keble's Christian Year. The inevitable 
results of such a comparison were once for all expressed 
by saying that The Christian Year was written by a poet 



with a strong theological bias, and that The Holy Year 
was written by a theologian whose nature possessed 
many poetical elements and sympathies, but who is at 
times deficient in the accomplishment of verse. Mr. 
Keble himself, in a letter to Canon Wordsworth acknowl- 
edging the receipt of a copy of The Holy Year, remarked 
that " to judge of it properly it must take at least a year 
to read ; for every hymn, of course, should be read on 
its own day — as a flower to be fully prized must be 

JF in tain. 






'* studied in situ." It may be that the general reading of 
the book was more hasty. The general verdict certainly 
was that its use in worship would be calculated to correct 
some infelicities of praise by killing the spirit of song 

" O Day of Rest and Gladness " was number one in 
The Holy Year, appearing under the head of "Sunday," 
and certainly it was a real inspiration. Any one who 
loves the Lord's Day is pretty sure to love the hymn. 
It began to be copied into other hymn books almost 
immediately, and is now in general use in all the 
churches. It was introduced into this country in 1865 
in Songs for the Sanctuary. Dr. Charles S. Robinson, 
the editor of that book, stated that he found the hymn 
upon the cover of a religious tract in London. The 
words were set by him to Lowell Mason's tune, Men- 
debras, and the association of the two has been popular 
ever since. 

A friend of Bishop Wordsworth has written down a 
reminiscence which brings us a little closer to the mak- 
ing of the hymn than merely reading a printed copy of 
it can do. His friend writes : " I was with him in the 
library when he put his arm in mine, saying, ' Come up- 
stairs with me; the ladies are going to sing a hymn to 
encourage your labors for God's holy day.' We all 
then sang from the manuscript this hymn. I was in 
raptures with it. It was some days before I knew it was 
written by himself." 

Some Points for Discussion 

(1) One verse of the hymn (the original fourth) was 
omitted from The Hymnal. It reads as follows : — 


"4 Thou art a holy ladder, 

Where Angels sm> and conic; 
Each Sunday finds us gladder, 

Nearer to Heaven, our home. 
A day of sweet refection 

Thou art, a day of love ; 
A day of Resurrection 

From earth to heaven above." 

Is this verse as good as the others? and if not, why 

(2) In our time, when the Lord's Day is threatened 
on all sides, we could hardly make too much of a good, 
effective Sunday hymn. Is there any other hymn which 
embodies so happily the true spirit of the Lord's Day ? 
Note the " triple light " from heaven falling upon the 
day, and the triple response of men's hearts in rest, 
gladness, and worship. 

(3) What is to be said of Bishop Wordsworth's views 
of avoiding personal hymns in public worship ? Is it 
true that our favorite hymns are too egotistical ? It 
would be worth one's while to make a list of his own 
favorites to discover how large a proportion have him- 
self for their theme, and also to examine Bishop Words- 
worth's hymns (there are eleven in The Hymnal — see 
its Index of Authors), all of which are entirely free from 
that personal element. 

(4) There cannot be any question as to the teaching 
power of hymns. (" In all ages popular songs, sacred 
and secular, have been the most effective teachers." 
And see Colossians iii. 16.) If Christians realized this, 
would they not be much more particular as to the 
character of the hymns that are sung? But, after all, is 
not the teaching power of hymns only one side of their 



influence and importance ? .And did not Bishop Words- 
worth make too much of that side- when he claimed 
that the first purpose of a hymn was t<> teach sound 
doctrine ? 

(5) In The Holy Year are many hymns no one cares 
to sing. W^vc is a specimen verse of one: — 

•• M.m fell from grace by carnal appetite, 
And forfeited the Garden of Delight ; 
To fast for us our second Adam deigns, 
These forty days, and Paradise regains.*' 

Can you contrast this with a verse of " O Day of Rest 
and Gladness " to show why one is hymn-like and the 
other not ? People often say to their pastor, " Please do 
not give out didactic hymns !" What do they mean by 
" didactic hymns " ? 




i Take my life, and let it be 
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee. 
Take my moments and my days ; 
Let them flow in ceaseless praise. 

2 Take my hands, and let them move 
At the impulse of Thy love. 
Take my feet, and let them be 
Swift and beautiful for Thee. 

3 Take my voice, and let me sing, 
Always, only, for my King. 
Take my lips, and let them be 
Filled with messages from Thee. 

4 Take my silver and my gold ; 
Not a mite would I withhold. 
Take my intellect, and use 

Every power as Thou shalt choose. 

5 Take my will, and make it Thine ; 
It shall be no longer mine. 

Take my heart, it is Thine own ; 
It shall be Thy royal throne. 


6 Take my love ; my Lord, I pour 
At Thy feet its treasure-store. 
Take myself, and I will be 
Ever, only, all for Thee. 

Frances Ridley Havergal, 1874 

NOTE. — The text is that of Miss "I I irergal's Songs of Grace and Glory and 
of the authorized edition of her Poetical Works. As a poem 
she arranged it in couplets; as a hymn, in four-line verses. 


This hymn of Frances Ridley Havergal records a deep 
experience in her own spiritual life, of the sort that most 
of us prefer to hide among the secrets of the soul. But 
Miss Havergal both spoke and wrote freely of the experi- 
ence, and gave an account of the hymn's origin. It 
was her way to be perfectly outspoken about such 
matters, because she thought her frankness would prove 
helpful to others. And after her death her family, no 
doubt for the same reason, opened to the world the last 
reserves of her soul, and printed her most intimate letters 
and conversations. We are thus relieved of any sense 
of intrusion in our study of the hymn. 

Toward the close of the year 1873 a little book that 
came into Miss Havergal's hands awakened within her 
great longings for unreached depths of spiritual experi- 
ence and a fuller entrance into God's peace. It was not 
long before she received what she called " the blessing," 
that lifted her whole nature into sunshine, and threw an 
uninterrupted gladness over the remaining years of her 
life. " It was on Advent Sunday, December 2nd, 1873," 
she wrote her sister, " I first saw clearly the blessedness 
of true consecration. I saw it as a flash of electric light, 
and what you see, you can never ////see. There must 


"be full surrender before there can be full blessedness. 
God admits you by the one into the other." It is 
this full surrender of herself to which she then attained 
that is recorded and expressed in the hymn. 

The hymn was written while on a visit to Arely House, 
on February 4th, 1874. Miss Havergal afterward gave 
the following account of the circumstances : " Perhaps 
you will be interested to know the origin of the consecra- 
tion hymn, ' Take my life.' I went for a little visit of five 


days. There were ten persons in the house, some un- 
converted and long prayed for, some converted but not 
rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer, ' Lord, give 
me all'm this house!' And He just did J Before I left 
the house every one had got a blessing. The last night 
of my visit I was too happy to sleep, and passed most 
of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecra- 
tion, and these little couplets formed themselves and 
chimed in my heart one after another, till they finished 
with, ' Ever, only, ALL for Thee !' " 

Miss Havergal had her own characteristic way of 


writing hymns ; and here again it will be best to let her 
speak for herself: " Writing is praying with me, for I 
never seem to write even a verse by myself, and feel like 

a little child writing ; you know a child would look up 
at every sentence and say, ' And what shall I say next ?' 
That is just what I do ; I ask that at every line He would 
give me not merely thoughts and power, but also every 
word y even the very rhymes. Very often I have a most 
distinct and happy consciousness of direct answers." 


It has been said of Miss Havergal that she was born 
in an atmosphere of hymns. Her father, the Rev. Wil- 
liam Henry Havergal, certainly wrote man)', but is now 
best remembered for his services to church music and by 
his tunes " Evan," " Zoan," " Patmos," and others. She 
was baptized by another hymn writer, the Rev. John 
Cawood, author of " Hark ! What Mean those Holy 
Voices?" (The Hymnal, No. 169), and "Almighty God, 
Thy Word is Cast" (The Hymnal, No. 74). 

Miss Havergal was born in the rectory of the little 
English village of Astley, December 14th, 1836. The 
family removed to the city of Worcester in 1845, when 
her father became rector of one of its churches. The 
story of her child life there, its joys and griefs, and the 
beginnings of her work for others in the Sunday-school 
and " The Flannel Petticoat Society," Miss Havergal 
herself has told in The Four Happy Days. She went 
away, first to an English school, under whose strong 
religious influences she began " to have conscious faith 
and hope in Christ," and afterward to a school in 



With a real love of learning and an ambition to make 
the most of herself, she earned on her studies until she 
became a very accomplished woman. She was at home 
in Hebrew and Greek as well as in modern languages. In 
music she cultivated her special gift to such a degree 
that she was sought after as a solo singer in public con- 
certs ; and she became a brilliant performer on the piano. 
How she did it may be gathered from her poem " The 
Moonlight Sonata." Her own sense of power in her 
music and the delight of public applause enforced the 
advice from professional sources that she make music 
her career. She knew, too, that she held the pen of a 
ready writer and the promise of poetic achievement ; and 
when there is added the influence upon her of marked 
social attentions evoked by the charm of her personality, 
and quickening her natural fondness for life and gayety, 
it will readily be understood that for a while the precise 
turn her life would take seemed somewhat problematical. 

But it was never really in question. Love and service 
were the only ideals that could satisfy her nature, and 
to these she yielded herself so completely as to efface 
all other ambitions. Her gifts were thenceforward 
" Kept for the Master's use." She considered literal 
" Singing for Jesus " her most direct mission from Him, 
and after 1873 sang nothing but sacred music, and that 
only for spiritual purposes. Her great work was that of 
personal spiritual influence upon others, and was carried 
forward to the extreme limit of her strength by writing 
many leaflets and books of prose and poetry, by per- 
sonal interviews, addresses, teaching, society work, and 

Many of her hymns were written for a hvmn book, 


Songs of Grace and Glory, of which she was one of the 
editors. This was a large and carefully edited book, 
ardently evangelical in its point of view, but it took no 
permanent place in the Church of England. Many of 
Miss Havergal's poems were originally printed as leaflets. 
From time to time she collected them into volumes, of 
which Ministry of Song (\%6^) l Under the Surface (1874), 
and Loyal Responses (1878), are the more important. 
After her death her complete poetical writings were 
gathered together and published by her sister. They 
made a bulky volume, and included, one would think, a 
great deal of verse which its author would not have 
considered worthy of appearing there. She also edited 
the Psalmody of her father, to whose memory she was 
devoted, and whose services to church music she lost no 
opportunity of magnifying. 

Miss Havergal's ideals and methods in writing were 
not those of an artist. And, though her beautiful spirit is 
beyond criticism, it is only right to say that the cultiva- 
tion of poetic art to the highest excellence (as in the 
case of Tennyson) may be pursued as conscientiously, 
and be as legitimate a consecration, as was the conscien- 
tious suppression of the art instinct in Miss Havergal's 
case. And while her hymns have been of great in- 
fluence and won a wide use, it remains to be seen 
whether that influence shall be permanent, or was rather 
the personal influence of the devoted woman herself. 
For as the personal influence of a writer fades away, his 
or her work comes to be judged by what it is in itself. 
And one hardly feels that most of Miss Havergal's 
hymns are as good from the literary standpoint as she 
was capable of making them. Her " Golden Harps are 


"Sounding" {T/w Hymnal, No. 702) is perhaps the best 
poetically, and seems too to have the promise of longest 
life. But many of her hymns have proved helpful to the 
spiritual life of others, and with that she would have been 
abundantly content. 

Miss Havergal's later years were spent at Leaming- 
ton, her last days at Caswell Bay, Swansea, Wales, 
where she had gone for rest. She had borne a full share 
of illnesses and suffering, and, though exceptionally sen- 
sitive to pain, had learned not only to carry forward her 
work under difficulties but also to find gladness in her 
infirmities. When informed of the dangerous turn of 
her last illness, she answered, "If I am going, it is too 
good to be true." Miss Havergal died on June 3rd, 
1879, in the forty-third year of her age, and was buried 
in the Astley churchyard beside her father and close to 
the church and home of her childhood. On her tomb- 
stone is carved, by her own desire, her favorite text : 
" The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from 
all sin." 


(1) The proper use to make of a hymn such as this 
deserves more thought than it gets. Miss Havergal 
herself meant just what she said in these verses, and 
often made personal use of them to see how far her 
actual living measured up to their standard : — 

" I had a great time early this morning renewing the never 
regretted consecration. I seemed led to run over the ' Take 
my life,' and could bless Him verse by verse for having led 
me on to much more definite consecration than even when I 
wrote it, voice, gold, intellect, etc. But the eleventh couplet, 


''Move,' — that has been unconsciously not filled up. Some- 
how, I felt mystified and out of my depth here : it was a simple 
and definite thing to be done, to settle the voice, or silver 
and gold \ but ' love ' ? I have to love others, and I do j and 
I've not a small treasure of it, and even loving in Him does 
not quite meet the inner difficulty. ... I don't see much 
clearer or feel much different ; but I have said intensely this 
morning, 'Take my love,' and He knows I have." {From 
her letter of December 2nd, 18 jH.) 

Miss Havergal also made much use of the hymn in 
her consecration meetings : — 

"At the close of the meeting, my sister gave to each one a 
card with her Consecration hymn, specially prepared and 
printed for this evening. Her own name was omitted, and a 
blank space left for signature. As she gave the cards, she 
asked them to make that hymn a test before God, and if they 
could really do so, to sign it on their knees at home. Then 
the hymn was sung." {From a memorandum of Miss 
M. V. G. Havergal, April jyth, iSyg.) 

No one will question the fitness of the words for such 
uses. But to encourage a promiscuous assembly or 
Sunday-school to sing them, without special spiritual 
preparation or without any common purpose or feeling 
corresponding to them, is open to more question. The 
two sides of the question may be presented in this way. 
It may be urged, on the one hand, that it is no better to 
make to God promises we do not intend to keep, or to 
express feelings we do not have, in song than it is in 
speech, and that such singing breeds insincerity. It may 
be argued, on the other hand, that it is proper to sing 
hymns expressing purposes more definite than our actual 


resolutions and feelings deeper than those actually mov- 
ing us, because the hymn expresses the ideal we should 
aim at, and singing the hymn keeps the ideal before us, 
and encourages us to attempt to attain it. 

(2) Miss Havergal wrote to the editor of a hymn 
book: " I particularly wish that hymn kept to my dear 
father's sweet little tune, ' Patmos,' which suits it per- 
fectly. So please substitute that, and your book will be 
the gainer." She was grieved whenever she found that 
any other tune had taken its place in a hymn book. Is 
" Patmos " a satisfactory setting of the words ; and how 
far should we allow ourselves to be influenced by Miss 
Havergal's wish in the matter? 




i I would not live alway; I ask not to stay 

Where storm after storm rises dark o'er the way; 

The few lurid mornings that dawn on us here 

Are enough for life's woes, full enough for its cheer. 

2 I would not live alway, thus fettered by sin ; 
Temptation without, and corruption within : 
E'en the rapture of pardon is mingled with fears, 
And the cup of thanksgiving with penitent tears. 

3 I would not live alway ; no, welcome the tomb : 
Since Jesus hath lain there, I dread not its gloom ; 
There sweet be my rest, till He bid me arise 

To hail Him in triumph descending the skies. 

4 Who, who would live alway, away from his God, 
Away from yon heaven, that blissful abode, 

Where the rivers of pleasure flow o'er the bright plains, 
And the noontide of glory eternally reigns ; 

5 Where the saints of all ages in harmony meet, 
Their Saviour and brethren, transported, to greet ; 
While the anthems of rapture unceasingly roll, 
And the smile of the Lord is the feast of the soul ? 

Rev. William Augustus Muhlenberg, (about) 1824 

NOTE. — This text is taken from Hymns of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 
1827. Other texts arejeferred to in " The Story of the Hymn." 



The Story of the Hymn 

A hymn so deeply tinged with melancholy as this illus- 
trates two curious facts. One is that the saddest poetry 
is likely to be written by the youngest poets ; the other, 
that the young appreciate such poetry more than the 
old. The brightness of youth has a vein of melancholy 
running through it, and the active imagination of youth 
forecasts the sorrows of life ; while age, which has actu- 
ally experienced them, likes to be as cheerful as it can. 
It need occasion no surprise, therefore, to learn that 
this hymn was written by the Rev. William Augustus 
Muhlenberg, somewhere in his twenties, and that, as he 
grew older, he grew to dislike it. 

He came to dislike the hymn itself, thinking it did not 
truly represent either the joys or the opportunities of 
the earthly life, and that it was unduly impatient for the 
joys of heaven. To the end of his life Dr. Muhlenberg 
kept on writing new versions of the hymn in the hope 
(quite vain) that some one of them would replace the 
earlier text in popular favor. Dr. Philip Schaff's bi- 
ographer describes a luncheon given by Dr. William 
Adams to Dr. Muhlenberg, at which Dr. Schaff re- 
marked to him : " Your hymn, ' I Would Not Live 
Ahvay,' makes you immortal." Dr. Muhlenberg pro- 
tested, saying that he hoped to make changes in it to 
bring it nearer the spirit of the gospel. Dr. Adams in- 
terrupted the conversation with the remark, " Well, you 
may not be able to evangelize the hymn, but you can- 
not kill it." 

Dr. Muhlenberg came also to dislike the popularity of 
the hymn, which from the very first was amazing. People 


would seek him out when busy with other things, "just 
to shake hands," as they said, " with the author of 4 I 
Would Not Live Alway.' " He would be pointed out 
and introduced as " the author of the immortal hymn," 
etc. " One would think that hymn the one work of my 
life," he used to say. 

The exact date of the hymn is uncertain. In his 
Story of the Hymn it is given as 1824. Several of the 
dates there are wrong ; but this one is perhaps correct. 
In regard to the circumstances, or experience, out of 
which the hymn grew, there has been and continues to 
be a conflict of opinion. The tradition has always been 
that it was occasioned by a great personal disappoint- 
ment suffered by its author. Dr. Muhlenberg was well 
aware of this tradition, and in his Story of the Hymn 
took occasion to contradict it in the following terms : 
" The legend that it was written on an occasion of 
private grief is a fancy." However conclusive this may 
seem, it has not concluded the matter. The Rev. 
Frederick M. Bird, in his essay on the Hymnology of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church, goes so far as to say that 
Dr. Muhlenberg's assertion " hardly agrees with the 
clear and minute recollections of persons of the highest 
character still living, and who knew the circumstances 
thoroughly." Two remarks seem to be suggested by 
this statement. One is that the persons referred to may 
have " known thoroughly " Dr. Muhlenburg's situation 
at the time and the reality of his private grief, and yet 
would not seem to have been in a position so good as 
his for knowing the exact connection, or lack of it, be- 
tween the grief and the hymn. The other remark is 
that while we too, if we had enjoyed the privilege of 


knowing who the unnamed witnesses were, and of hear- 
ing or reading the exact words of their testimony, might 
have come to feel it more trustworthy than Dr. Muhlen- 
berg's recollections after so many years ; yet, in the 
absence of such opportunity, we feel ourselves bound 
by the explicit denial of the author himself. There 
will always, however, be many among the lovers of the 
hymn who believe the legend and not the assertion. 
The demand for a specifically romantic origin for every 
individual piece of verse for which one cares is unfailing. 
And in this case there is unhappily an apparent reality 
in the private grief in question, finding, as alleged, cor- 
roboration in the fact that Dr. Muhlenberg never mar- 
ried ; there is even perhaps a coincidence in date between 
the sorrow and the hymn. Who but the author (and 
perhaps not he) could know how far his private grief 
had clouded the outlook of his muse upon time and 
the eternal ? 

For the next step in the history of the hymn, as related 
by Mr. Bird, the authority is more satisfying : — 

" It was written at Lancaster, in a lady's album, and 
began, — 

' I would not live ahvay. No, no, holy man. 
Not a day, not an hour, should lengthen my span.' 

In this shape it seems to have had six eight- line stanzas. 
The album was still extant in 1876, at Pottstown, Pa., 
and professed to contain the original manuscript. Said 
the owner's sister, ' It was an impromptu. He had no 
copy, and wanting it for some occasion, he sent for 
the album.' In 1826 he entrusted his copy to a friend, 
who called on him on the way from Harrisburg to Phila- 


" delphia, to carry to the ' Episcopal Recorder,' and in 
that paper it appeared June 3rd, 1826 (not 1824J. For 



u. ^ 


these facts we have the detailed statement of Dr. John 
B. Clemson, of Claymont, Del, the ambassador men- 
tioned, who also chances to have preserved that volume 
of the paper." And the present writer, in his turn, must 
rest upon the authority of Mr. Bird (which, indeed, is 


happily high) ; not having seen the album nor even 

chanced upon that number of The Episcopal Recorder. 

Dr. Muhlenberg himself has told us how his poem 
first gained place as a hymn. From the paper, in which 
it was printed anonymously, it was adopted by a sub- 
committee among the hymns to be passed upon by the 
whole committee which then 11X26) was engaged in 
preparing a hymn book for the Protestant Episcopal 
Church. When this hymn was proposed, " one of the 
members remarked that it was very sweet and pretty, 
but rather sentimental ; upon which it was unanimously 
thrown out. Not suspected as the author, I voted 
against myself. That, I supposed, was the end it. The 
committee, which sat until late at night at the house of 
Bishop White, agreed upon their report to the Conven- 
tion, and adjourned. But the next morning Dr. Onder- 
donk (who was not one of their number, but who, on 
invitation, had acted with the sub-committee, which, in 
fact, consisted of him and myself) called on me to inquire 
what had been done. Upon my telling him that among 
the rejected hymns was this one of mine, he said, ' That 
will never do,' and went about among the members of 
the committee, soliciting them to restore the hymn in 
their report, which accordingly they did ; so that to him 
is due the credit of giving it to the Church." It was 
copied almost at once into other books, and soon became 
one of the most popular of American hymns. 

Ever since 1833 it has been associated with the melo- 
dious tune " Frederick," composed for it by Mr. George 
Kingsley, and printed as sheet music in that year. Kings- 
ley belonged to the period of American psalmody when 
the performances of soloists and quartettes drowned the 


w0 UU> NOT X.IVS Al,v A 




voice of congregations. The standard of church music 
did not differ materially from that of parlor music. Like 
the hymn itself his tune (even to the vignette on the 
title) reflects the religious fashion of the time. The two 
belong together. Several editors have attempted to put 
a newer tune in the place of Mr. Kingsley's. It was in 
vain, simply because words and melody both appeal to 
the same taste. They are not likely to be divorced, but 
to live or die together. 

The history of the text is somewhat peculiar. The 
original, written in the album, seems to have been in six 
verses of eight lines each ; as was also the first printed 
text in the Recorder. It was Dr. Onderdonk who 
selected and arranged the lines into four-line verses for 
the Episcopalian hymn book, Dr. Muhlenberg slightly 
revising them. So far as the public is concerned, this is 
the only text of the hymn. But in i860, in a little collec- 
tion of his poems, Dr. Muhlenberg printed a new version, 
and in a second edition, in the same year, added a post- 
script to that. In 1 87 1, and again in 1876, he rewrote 
the hymn. It was not vanity but conscientiousness that 
inspired so much thought and labor; although these 
were quite in vain. The public loved the earlier version, 
and took no interest at all in the revisions. The auto- 
graph verses reproduced in this Study are from the 
version of 1871. 

The author of the hymn 
Dr. Muhlenberg was born in Philadelphia, September 
16th, 1796, and came of distinguished stock. His great- 
grandfather was Dr. Henry M. Muhlenberg, founder of 
the Lutheran Church in America ; his grandfather (Fred- 

.■'5* 3fc 

^QvWav^?^, ■ 



crick A.) was Speaker of the House of Representatives 
in the First and Second Congresses during Washington's 

first administration. In his boyhood the Lutheran ser- 
vices were conducted in German, of which he was igno- 
rant ; and he drifted into the Episcopal Church, into 
whose ministry he entered in 18 17. He was ordained 
by Bishop White, and for a while served as chaplain to 
that famous prelate. 

In 1820 he became rector of St. James's Church, Lan- 
caster, Pennsylvania. It was there he began his labors 
for a better church hymnody, publishing his Church 
Poetry, and doing much for that cause. While there he 
also conceived the idea of a school under church auspices, 
where education should be distinctly religious. Such a 
school he established at Flushing, Long Island, and gave 
to it fifteen years of enthusiastic toil. When circumstances 
compelled him to abandon it, he became in 1846 rector 
of a church in New York City founded by his sister, which 
he developed as a " free " church. Here he organized 
the first Protestant sisterhood, and established St. Luke's 
Hospital, in which, as pastor, he spent the last twenty 
years of his life, ministering to the suffering. In these 
later years he established the religious industrial com- 
munity of St. Johnland on Long Island. 

The great purposes of Dr. Muhlenberg's efforts may 
be summed up as the Christianizing of education, the 
reunion of all Christians in one Evangelical Catholic 
Church, and the bettering of the lot of the poor. To 
these he consecrated his life, with his great gifts for 
originating and administering. For these he spent his 
private fortune, of which he left behind less than enough 
to bury him. He was a prophet, and saw visions of a 


holier Church than any on the earth, more catholic of 
heart and more helpful of hand. Me thought his own 
denomination called to lead the way, and committed to 
it his visions as a trust. Dr. Muhlenberg's ideals and 
influence constitute one of the great forces now at work 
in the development of the Protestant Episcopal Church. 
Of his spiritual greatness, his lovely personality, his 
saintliness, his utter abnegation of self-interest, it seems 
hardly possible to speak too warmly. " His long life 
was one stream of blessed charity." Dr. Muhlenberg 
died at St. Luke's Hospital, April 8th, 1877, and was 
buried at St. Johnland. 


(1) The omission of this hymn from the latest hymnal 
of Dr. Muhlenberg's own denomination raises the ques- 
tion of its fitness to serve as a hymn according to our 
present standards of judgment. Is its true place in a 
hymn book for congregational use or in a book of 
religious poetry for private use ? 

(2) There is a more important question : Is the view 
of life expressed in the hymn wholesome and inspiring, 
or is it morbid and enervating ? The hymn embodies 
what seems to have been the average sentiment at that 
day among evangelical Christians. But a great change 
has come over evangelical thought about this life and the 
next. If, however, the " other-worldliness " of that gen- 
eration seems morbid to us, it may be that to them, 
looking down upon us now from that other world, the 
" this-worldliness " of the present generation seems short- 
sighted, to say the least. 

(3) Dr. Muhlenberg's desire to evangelize his hymn 


strikes one at first as peculiar. 1 1 is version of 1871 was 
headed, "'I Would Not Live Alway* Evangelized." 

What he had in mind is doubtless explained by the fre- 
quent saying of his later years : " Pauls desire to ' depart 
and be with Christ ' is better than Job's ' I would not live 
alway." " 



The Text of the Hymn 

i O help us, Lord; each hour of need 
Thy heavenly succor give : 
Help us in thought, and word, and deed, 
Each hour on earth we live. 

2 O help us when our spirits bleed, 

With contrite anguish sore ; 
And when our hearts are cold and dead, 
O help us, Lord, the more. 

3 O help us, through the prayer of faith 

More firmly to believe ; 
For still, the more the servant hath, 
The more shall he receive. 

4 If, strangers to Thy fold, we call, 

Imploring at Thy feet 
The crumbs that from Thy table fall, 
'Tis all we dare entreat. 

5 But be it, Lord of mercy, all, 

So Thou wilt grant but this : 
The crumbs that from Thy table fall 
Are light, and life, and bliss. 



6 O help us, Jesus, from on high ; 
We know no help but Thee : 
O help us so to live and die 
As Thine in heaven to be. 

Rev. Henry Hart Milman, 1827 

NOTE.— The text is that published in Bishop Heber's Hymns, 1827. 

The story of the Hymn 

It may be recalled that in our study of the hymn 
u From Greenland's Icy Mountains " reference was made 
to Bishop Heber's favorite project of a literary hymn 
book for the Church of England, a hymn book to 
contain only good poetry as well as good devotion. 
And now our study of this hymn, written by the Rev. 
Henry Hart Milman, brings us back to that project of 
his friend. 

Heber had made a beginning on his book, at least as 
early as 1811, by writing some original hymns for it. 
But he never intended to follow the example of Dr. 
Watts and make the entire book consist of his own 
hymns. And we find him, in 1820, casting his eyes 
about the literary horizon to see what poets could be 
enlisted in his scheme. 

There was no dearth of poets in those days. And it 
is likely that Heber knew most of them, for he had be- 
gun to write for the new Quarterly Review of Mr. 
Murray, the great London publisher, whose hospitable 
drawing-room was the common meeting ground of the 
poets of the time. Keats, Shelley, and Byron were all 
alive in 1820, but no one then or now would be likely to 
think of them in connection with a hymn book. Crabbe 
was an old man, whose poetry lay behind him. Coleridge 


was capable of writing great hymns, but it was in vain 
to ask him to do any given thing at a given time. Keble 
at that time was actually writing The Christian War, but 
the fact was known to very few. Montgomery, distinct- 
ively a hymn writer, would probably be passed over as 
out of sympathy with the Church of England. Words- 
worth, Scott, Campbell, Moore, Southey, and Milman 
were the six who remained, conspicuous and possibly 

To at least three of these we know that Heber ap- 
pealed to furnish hymns for his book. Scott and 
Southey both promised their aid. But both failed him, 
although some unnamed poet did send in contributions 
that were rejected as beneath the level of the book. To 
Milman, whom he greatly admired, Heber sent in 1820 
an earnest request for hymns : " I know with what 
facility you write poetry, and all the world knows with 
what success you write religious poetry." 

And Milman did not fail him. In May of the year 
following Heber alludes to three hymns already re- 
ceived from him, one of them the now familiar " Ride on, 
Ride on in Majesty " (The Hymnal, No. 214) ; saying, " I 
rejoice to hear so good an account of the progress which 
your Saint [The Martyr of Antioch] is making towards 
her crown, and feel really grateful for the kindness which 
enables you, while so occupied, to recollect my hymn 
book. I have in the last month received some assistance 

from , which would once have pleased me well ; 

but alas ! your advent, Good Friday, and Palm Sunday 
hymns have spoilt me for all other attempts of the sort. 
There are several Sundays yet vacant, and a good many of 
the Saints' days. But I need not tell you that any of the 


"other days will cither carry double, or, if you prefer it, 
the compositions which now occupy them will 'contract 
their arms for you, and recede from as much of heaven' 
as you may require." 

The hymn " O Help Us, Lord ; Each Hour of Need" 
does not appear to have been in that first group, but 
very likely it was one of a second group acknowledged 
by Heber at the close of the same year. He writes to 
Milman : "You have indeed sent me a most powerful 
reinforcement to my projected hymn book. A few more 
such hymns and I shall neither need nor wait for the 
aid of Scott and Southey. Most sincerely, I have not 
seen any lines of the kind which more completely corre- 
spond to my ideas of what such compositions ought to 
be, or to the plan, the outline of which it has been my 
wish to fill up." At all events, we read of no more 
hymns from Milman in Heber's letters. 

Milman contributed twelve hymns in all to the first 
edition of the book, which Bishop Heber was not to live 
to publish : and in that book, as put forth by the Bishop's 
widow in 1827, they first appeared in print. The book 
was immediately reprinted in New York, just too late 
for its hymns to be used in the new Episcopalian hymn 
book published that year. But perhaps it did not 
matter, and certainly not so far as this particular hymn 
was concerned, since American Episcopalians were con- 
tent to wait until 1892 before including it among their 
authorized hymns. The hymn was included in The 
[Baptist] Psalmist of L843 ar| d The Sabbath Hymn Book 
[Congregational] of 1858, but, in the case of this, as of 
so many other hymns, the Boston Unitarians were the 
first to see its merits, and the only ones to make prompt 


use of it, which they did in 1830. It is to be remembered 
that the Orthodox churches at that date were satisfied to 
sing " Watts," or, if they were to admit new hymns 
(enough to make " Watts and Select "), they preferred 
such new hymns as approached most closely to the old 

Some years ago Mr. Francis Arthur Jones attempted 
to trace the whereabouts of the original manuscript 
drafts of some of our popular hymns with a view to an 
article upon the subject in the Strand Magazine, He 
found that comparatively few such manuscripts have 
been preserved. In regard to those of Milman, his son, 
Mr. Arthur Milman, wrote: "I have never even seen a 

^f- V ^ A^£~ cuJ ^J <^ ^ 

£<~<£~~ i^Zjl^. #us <£d^J£r j^xl. c*r&) '^w Jty 



" MS. of my father, Dean Milman's hymns, and I greatly 
doubt whether any can have survived." It happened 
that Mr. Jones had secured an autograph of this hymn 
only two days prior to the receipt of Mr. Milman's letter, 
and from that the facsimile here reproduced was made. 
Concerning this he remarks : u Whether the MS. is the 
original, or merely the ' fair ' copy, I am unable to say. 
It came into my hands through a dealer, and I value it 
very highly." 


Henry Hart Mil man, born February 10th, 1791, was 
the youngest child of Francis Milman, physician to 
George III., and created a baronet by that king. He 
was prepared for Oxford at Eton, and after a brilliant 
career took his degree at Brasenose College in 18 13. 
Among the prizes he carried off was that for English 
poetry, an event chronicled in one of the Ingoldsby 
Legends : — 

'• His lines on Apollo 
Beat all the rest hollow, 
And gained him the Newdigate prize." 

While still at Oxford he wrote his first drama, " Fazio : 
a Tragedy," published soon after his graduation. It was 
put upon the stage without his knowledge or consent, 
and acted with much success in England and America. 

Ordained to the ministry in 18 16, he became Vicar of 
St. Mary's Church, Reading. " He reads and preaches 
enchantingly," the famous Miss Mitford wrote soon after 
his coming; but he found in his parish some prejudice 
against him as the author of a play. He was full of 



industry and literary ambition, and followed his drama 
with an epic poem in twelve books, " Samor, Lord of the 
Bright City." Then came the three religious dramas 
which crowned his poetic career, the " Fall of Jerusalem," 
in 1820; the " Martyr of Antioch " and " Belshazzar," in 
1822. For the copyright of each of these he received 
the large sum of five hundred guineas. 

But with the last of the three the enthusiasm of critics 
and applause of the public, originally very great, had 
waned, and his later poems were not successful. All 
alike are now buried and forgotten. It seems strange, 
indeed, that a poet greeted with so much enthusiasm by 
his contemporaries should be remembered only by a few 
hymns. His poetical works, gathered into three comely 
volumes in 1839, and long out of print, contain much 
that is striking and beautiful ; and not the least pleasing 
feature is their dedication " To her who has made the 
poetry of life reality, by her affectionate husband." 

Milman was to win more permanent fame in another 
branch of literature. While still at Reading he published 
his History of the Jews \ in which he attempted, for the 
first time in England, to read the sacred annals in the 
light of the principles of historical criticism. This effort 
brought down upon him a storm of indignation and 
abuse, for which, however, he was not unprepared, and 
which he weathered in silence. His later works, The 
History of Christianity and The History of Latin CJiris- 
tianity, placed him at once among the great historical 
writers of the language ; and in that high place he still 
remains. Promotion in the Church also came to him. 
In 1835 he was appointed rector of St. Margaret's, the 
church that stands in the shadow of Westminster Abbey ; 


and in 1849 he became Dean of St. Paul's, the cathedral 
church of London. 

Dean Mil man's London life was one of incessant toil, 
and had its sorrows also, three of his children lying in 
one grave in the north aisle of the Abbey. He became 
a great figure in London, sought after for his social 
charm, admired for his learning and genius, and reverenced 
for his lofty and peculiarly straightforward Christian 
character. He was a liberal in theology, and stood 
resolutely apart from the High Church movement. He 
survived in the full vigor of his mental powers until 
September 24th, 1868, and was buried in the crypt of his 
vast cathedral. 

In 1900 appeared a biography of Dean Milman, by 
the son who has already been referred to. It had been 
delayed, strangely enough, until the generation of those 
who were his personal friends had passed away and the 
lustre of his poetic reputation had been dimmed by the 
lapse of time. 


(1) In the Book of Common Prayer each Sunday has 
a passage of the gospels appropriated to it, to be used as 
the Gospel for the day. Bishop Heber's hymn book was 
to have a hymn for each Sunday based on its special 
Gospel. What is the particular passage on which this 
hymn is based, and which it illustrates ? 

(2) When Dean Milman came to make a hymn book 

of his own, he omitted the fourth and fifth verses of this 

hymn ; but, in reprinting it in his Poetical Works of 1839, 

he included all six verses, with no change from his earliest 

text, except that in the first line of the last verse he sub- 


stituted "Saviour" for "Jesus." In the omission of the 
two verses he has been followed by most later editors. 
As to the beauty of those omitted verses there can hardly 
be any question. Hut is there any such lack of clearness 
in them that the poem is better as a hymn without 
them ? 

(3) The three hymns of Milman in The Hymnal^' Ride 
on, Ride on in Majesty," " When our Heads are Bowed 
with Woe," and this) are probably the best cut of his 
twelve in Bishop Heber's book. And, if placed side by 
side, it will be seen that each is in a different style. One 
is after the manner of a metrical litany, one so dramatic 
that it might serve as a chorus for one of his sacred 
dramas, and one " a piece of pure, deep devotion " in the 
best manner of unpretentious hymn writing. 



i Shepherd of tender youth, 
Guiding in love and truth 

Through devious ways : 
Christ, our triumphant King, 
We come Thy Name to sing; 
Hither our children bring, 

To shout Thy praise. 

2 Thou art our Holy Lord, 
The all-subduing Word, 

Healer of strife : 
Thou didst Thyself abase, 
That from sin's deep disgrace 
Thou mightest save our race, 

And give us life. 

Thou art the Great High Priest, 
Thou hast prepared the feast 

Of heavenly love : 
While in our mortal pain, 
None calls on Thee in vain : 
Help Thou dost not disdain, 

Help from above. 




4 Ever be Thou our Guide, 
Our Shepherd and our Pride, 

Our Staff and Song : 
Jesus, Thou Christ of God, 
By Thy perennial word, 
Lead us where Thou hast trod ; 

Make our faith strong. 

5 So now and till we die, 
Sound we Thy praises high, 

And joyful sing : 
Infants, and the glad throng 
Who to Thy Church belong, 
Unite to swell the song 

To Christ our King. 

Clement of Alexandria, who died about A. D. 220 
Translated by Rev. Henry Martyn Dexter, 1846 


This hymn is the translation of a Greek poem, and 
this relation to an antique world gives, it a special inter- 
est of its own. It forms a connecting link between the 
second century and the twentieth, showing that, while 
many things have been changed, the Christian heart 
then as now feels the same impulse to praise Christ, and 
can express that praise in like words. The Greek poem 
is often spoken of as the oldest Christian hymn, but 
that is saying too much. It is rather the oldest surviv- 
ing Christian poem (after the Song of Mary and the 
other New Testament hymns) which can be traced to a 
particular author. And that is distinction enough. 

Among the great figures of the Church at the end of 
the second century was Clement of Alexandria. Of 
Clement himself, apart from his reputation and writings, 
we know little. He was a Greek, but when or where 


born is uncertain. He seems to have been of good 
birth and social position, and certainly was highly edu- 
cated. He had been a heathen philosopher and when 
he became a Christian was a philosopher still, travel- 
ing about seeking for light from various teachers. He 
mentions six, under whom he studied "the true tradition 
of the blessed doctrine of the holy apostles." Alex- 
andria was then the great centre of Christian scholar- 
ship. It was there that Clement found in the Word of 
God the solution of the riddles of his soul. And there 
his wanderings ended in rest in a living Christ. When 
his teacher, Pantaenus, head of the Catechetical School 
there, left it to go forth as a missionary, Clement be- 
came the head of the school, and so remained until 
driven away by persecution in a. d. 202. Whither he 
went and how r he spent his closing years we do not 
know. We hear of him at Jerusalem and once again 
at Antioch, and he is believed to have died a little be- 
fore A. D. 220. 

Clement was a reformer, and wrote several books ex- 
posing the dreadful moral corruption of paganism and 
tutoring new converts in the life becoming the gospel of 
Christ. One of his books was called The Instructor (or 
Tutor), and is a treatise on Christian morals and manners. 
It sets forth Christ the Son of God as the true Instructor 
of men, and expounds His teachings with eloquence and 
the warmth of a real affection for Him. At the end of 
the book is appended the " Hymn to Christ the Saviour." 
It is a doxology, a burst of praise, an expression of 
thankfulness " to the Instructor who has not only en- 
lightened us but called us into His Church and united us 
to Himself." 


Clement's poem has always been an object of interest 
to scholars as a relic of early Christianity, and has been 
frequently translated. From a poetic standpoint it par- 
takes too much of the nature of an inventor}' of figures 
applied to Christ in the Scriptures, and too little of the 
spontaneity of a lyric of praise. There is at the same 
time a charm in its cumulative adorations and its loyalty 
to Christ. But it never at any period found a place in 
the hymn books of the Church. For that honor it waited 
sixteen centuries. 

In 1846 an American Congregational clergyman, the 
Rev. Henry Martyn Dexter, was preparing for his church 
at Manchester, New Hampshire, a sermon on " Some 
prominent characteristics of the early Christians," from 
the text, " Remember the days of old." — Deut. xxxii. 7. 
It occurred to him to make a hymn out of the old poem 
and to have it sung at the service. He says : " I first 
translated it literally into prose, and then transfused as 
much of its language and spirit as I could into the hymn." 
Dr. Dexter's hymn was first printed in The Congregation- 
al 'ist for December 21st, 1849. In 1853 Drs. Hedge and 
Huntington put it into their Hymns for the Church of 
Christ simply because, in their judgment, it was a good 
hymn, as they apparently knew nothing of its history or 
authorship. In 1866 it was included in the Hymnal of 
the Presbyterian Chnreh, and is now widely used in this 
country and to some extent in England. Dr. Dexter's 
version has certainly won its way without any pushing 
on his part. As lately as 1869 Dr. Schaff (with all his 
wide acquaintance with religious verse) was obliged to 
include it in his delightful Christ in Song as "a trans- 
fusion by an unknown author." 


6W ^^L CuuuZ-. >W^; 


The Translator of the Hymn 

Henry Martyn Dexter, a son of the Rev. Elijah 
Dexter, was born at Plympton, Massachusetts, August 
13th, 1 82 1. He was graduated from Yale College in 
1840 and from Andover Theological Seminary in 1844. 
That same year he was ordained, and became pastor of 


a Congregational Church at Manchester, New Hamp- 
shire. Five years later he became pastor of a church in 
Boston. While there he also became the editor of The 
Congregationalist and of The Congregational Quarterly. 

In 1867 he resigned his pastorate to be the editor of The 
Congregationalist and Recorder. 

Dr. Dexter's natural inclinations made his career that 
of a man of letters and a scholar. He was especially 
interested in historical studies. Born within ten miles 
of Plymouth Rock, and often visiting the old town so 
full of Pilgrim memories, and with the blood both of 
Pilgrim and Puritan blended in his own veins, he early 
acquired a peculiar interest in the first settlers of New 
England. He came to believe in their system of Con- 
gregationalism as the best and most Scriptural form of 
church government. What Dr. Dexter believed he be- 
lieved with all his heart, and he spent much time and 
money in tracing the beginnings of the Pilgrim Church 
in England and Holland, and especially in searching for 
the rare books and tracts that illustrate the early history 
of Congregationalism. He published many books and 
articles on these and kindred subjects, upon which he 
is now recognized as a high authority. His principal 
work was published in 1880 as The Congregationalism 
of the Last Three Hundred Years, as Seen in its Litera- 
ture. While some of the conclusions of this book have 
been questioned, no one has failed to admire the learn- 
ing and patient research that have gone into it. Dr. 
Dexter's published works extend over more than forty 
years. His interests and studies were by no means con- 
fined to Congregationalism, and his works deal with 
many problems in national, religious, and social life. 



Dr. Dexter's hymn entitles him to a niche among 
American hymn writers, but he seems to have published 
no other verse. His son, the Rev. Morton Dexter, 
writes : " As a young man he used to write verse some- 
times, and in middle life composed a number of hymns 


for special occasions. But he never regarded himself as 
a poet and never gave much attention to versifying. 
Most of his earlier poetry was in the ballad form and 
amusing in character." 

Dr. Dexter died of heart failure on November 13th, 
1 890, passing away in his sleep. To look at the like- 
ness of his pleasant face and to read his books, so full 
of learning and vitality, is to feel something of the irre- 
trievableness of death. It is to be regretted that no bi- 
ography of him has been published. He holds a secure 
place among the investigators into the origins of Ameri- 



can church history, but it is not impossible that his 
hymn may prove to be his most enduring memorial. 


(i) In our hymn books man)' hymns are marked 
" Tr.," which means that they are translations, whether 
from the Greek or Latin or some other language. Hut 
while, for convenience, all alike are called translations, it 
should be understood that such hymns differ very widely 
in the degree in which the English version corresponds 
to the original text. As a rule, translations from the 
Latin can and do follow the original more closely than 
those from the Greek. It must be said frankly that lew 
translations have less of the original in them than this. 
Dr. Dexter attempted little more than to reproduce the 
spirit of the original with occasional use of its language. 
This will appear in comparing the following literal trans- 
lation with Dr. Dexter's hymn : — 

" Bridle of untamed colts, 
Wing of unwandering birds, 
Sure Helm of babes. 

Shepherd of royal lambs ! 
Assemble thy simple children 
To praise holily, 
To hymn guilelessly 
With innocent mouths. 
Christ the Guide of children. 

"O King of Saints, 
All-subduing Word 
Of the most-high Father, 
Prince of wisdom. 
Support of sorrows. 
That rejoicest in the ages, 
Jesus, Saviour 
Of the human race, 

Shepherd, Husbandman, 

Helm, Bridle, 

Heavenly Wing 

Of the all-white flock, 

Fisher of men 

Who are saved. 

Catching the chaste fishes 

With sweet life 

From the hateful wave 

Of a sea of vices, — 

Lead, O Shepherd 

Of reasoning sheep : 

Lead harmless children, 

O holy Kin^. 

O footsteps of Christ, 

( ) heavenly Way, 

Perennial Word, 

Endless Age, 


" Perpetual Light, Let us sing together 

Fountain of mercy, Artless praises, 

Worker of virtue: True hymns 
Noble [is the] sustenance of those To Christ the King, 

Who praise God, Sacred rewards 

O Christ Jesus, For the doctrine of life; 

Heavenly milk Let us sing together, 

Of the sweet breasts Sing in simplicity 

Of the graces of the Bride, The mighty Child. 

Pressed out of Thy wisdom. O choir of peace, 

The Christ-begotten, 

" Babes, nourished O chaste people, 

With tender lips, Let us praise together 

Filled with the dewy spirit The God of peace." 
Of the spiritual breast, 

Any one who values the historical association of the 
hymn feels a certain dissatisfaction with so loose a ren- 
dering of the original as Dr. Dexter's. That the poem 
can be reproduced much more closely appears from a 
version by a Scotch Presbyterian, Dr. Hamilton M. Mac- 
gill, of which the opening lines are as follows : — 

" Thyself, Lord, be the bridle ! 
These wayward wills to stay : 
Be thine the wing unwandering! 
To speed their upward way ; 

" The helm for youth embarking 
On the all-treacherous sea ! 
Shepherd of lambs ! Thou only, 
Their King and Leader be ! 

" O l>ring your tender young ones, 
To chant their hymns of praise, 
And holy hallelujahs, 

With hallowed lips to raise. 

"Let them with songs adoring, 
Their artless homage bring 
To Christ the Lord, and crown Him 
The children's Guide and King." 



Dr. Macgill's verse is just as good as Dr. Dexter's and 

as a translation far better. Yet, after all, it is a question 
if Dr. Dexter's version does not better represent the 
original for the purpose of singing. The spirit of the 
Greek poem appeals to us, but when it comes to address- 
ing Christ as the bridle and the helm we are not quite so 

(2) The autograph verse here reproduced (it was 
written in 1883) shows that Dr. Dexter had recast the 
form of the fourth verse. Is the earlier or the later 
version preferable ? Careless as he was of the fate of the 
hymn, it is difficult to say which one of the somewhat 
differing texts represents his preference. That here 
printed is one that apparently had his approval as late as 



The Text of the Hymn 

i Thine for ever ! God of love, 
Hear us from Thy throne above ; 
Thine f&r ever may we be 
Here and in eternity. 

2 Thine for ever ! Lord of life, 
Shield us through our earthly strife ; 
Thou, the Life, the Truth, the Way, 
Guide us to the realms of day. 

3 Thine for ever! O how blest 
They who find in Thee their rest ! 
Saviour, Guardian, heavenly Friend, 
O defend us to the end. 

4 Thine for ever! Saviour, keep 
These Thy frail and trembling sheep; 
Safe alone beneath Thy care, 

Let us all Thy goodness share. 

5 Thine for ever ! Thou our Guide, 
All our wants by Thee supplied, 
All our sins by Thee forgiven, 
Lead us, Lord, from earth to heaven. 

Mary Fawler i Hooper) Maude. 1847 

NOTE. — Five verses of the original seven. Some features of the text are 
referred to under " Some Points for Discussion." 



The Story of the Hymn 

A sensational or sentimental hymn may catch the ear 
of the public and at once gain a short-lived popularity. 
But a hymn of solid merit makes its way more slowly. 
It is not often that the writer of such a hymn lives to 
see it take its place in the permanent hymnody of the 
Church. Such, however, is the happy experience of 
Mrs. Maude, who wrote " Thine for Ever ! God of 
Love." And it is certainly an additional happy circum- 
stance that we now have the story of the hymn in her 
own words. Mrs. Maude has lately written it for the 
Rev. John Brownlie, as follows : — 

"In 1847 m y husband was minister of the Parish 
Church of St. Thomas, Newport, Isle of Wight. We 
had very large Sunday-schools, in which I taught the 
first class of elder girls, then preparing for their con- 
firmation by the Bishop of Winchester. Health obliged 
me to go for some weeks to the seaside, and while there 
I wrote twelve letters to my class, which were afterward 
printed by the Church of England Sunday-School In- 
stitute. In one of the letters I wrote off, almost im- 
promptu, the hymn Thine for ever." 

It should be explained, perhaps, that in the confirma- 
tion service in the Church of England the prayer spoken 
by the bishop in the act of laying on his hands begins, 
" Defend, O Lord, this thy Child with thy heavenly 
grace, that he may continue thine for ever." These 
words furnished the theme for the hymn. In the hymn 
they are taken up by catechumens and congregation, 
and made the words of their own prayer. 

Mrs. Maude goes on to say : " The hymn must have 


" been in some way seen by the committee of the Chris- 
tian Knowledge Society, for early in the fifties I opened 
their newly-published hymnal, much to my surprise, 
upon my own hymn. After that, application for its use 



came in from all quarters. Little did I imagine that it 
would be chosen by our beloved Queen to be sung at 
the confirmation of a Royal Princess. 

" It was our custom in Chirk Vicarage to sing a 
hymn, chosen in turn, at our evening family prayer on 
the Lord's Day. On Sunday, February 8th, 1887, it was 
my husband's turn to choose, and he gave out Thine 
for ever, looking round at me. On the nth he was 
singing with saints in Paradise. . . . 


" Now, in my eightieth year, whenever I meet my 
hymn, there seems written across it, to my mental vision, 
non nobis Domine" 

Mrs. Maude's hymn is so admirably suited to a con- 
firmation service that its early adoption in the Church of 
England can readily be understood. In this country 
the hymn does not seem to have been used in the Epis- 
copal Church until 1872. By that time it was already 
getting to be familiar in such Presbyterian and Congre- 
gational churches as were using Dr. Robinson's Songs for 
the Sanctuary, published in 1865. 

In accounting for the wide use into which this hymn 
has come, one finds a reminder of the actual distinction 
between a collection of lyrical or even devotional poetry 
on the one hand and a hymn book on the other. If he 
were considering this hymn as a candidate for inclusion 
in a book of lyrics he would feel that it was lyrical in the 
sense of being eminently singable, but he would look in 
vain through its verses for any special structural beauty, 
for a thought or even a turn of expression that had 
anything of the charm of the unexpected. Nothing in 
it is far removed from the commonplace in a poetic 
sense. He might feel toward it in much the same way, 
considered for a place even in a book of devotional 
poetry. He would recognize a real tenderness of feel- 
ing and a perfect refinement of expression. Why, even 
then, should it gain favor as against a vast body of 
verse as true in religious feeling and equally poetic, to 
say the least? Rut who, on the other hand, has ever 
heard Mrs. Maude's hymn sung heartily in connection 
with the act of admitting catechumens to the Table of 
their Lord without feeling something of the satisfaction 


that comes with the right word, to the occasion true 
because exactly expressive of the feeling whieh the 
occasion evokes? Mrs. Maude's verses, it would seem, 
find their proper plaee not in a book of poems, but in a 
service book. They are poetry in the sense of being 
liturgical verse, whose art consists in entering into the 
feelings of those participating in a certain service, and 
giving to them expression in perfect truth and in perfect 
taste. To bring out the poetry in them they must be 
sung, and sung in connection with the service to which 
they belong, and sung by those whose hearts respond 
to what the service means and stands for. There is 
abundant room for lyrics of high art in the hymn book, 
but there is also an inevitable demand for proper liturgical 

In estimating the readiness of welcome which Mrs. 
Maude's hymn has found, one has also to remember 
that it did not have to make its way through a very 
formidable body of competitors. Even now it stands 
somewhat isolated on a bare spot of the domain of our 
hymnody. We have Bishop Wordsworth's conscien- 
tious and careful " Arm These Thy Soldiers, Mighty 
Lord" (The Hymnal, No. 315). But the hymn itself 
belongs to the Heavy Artillery, and rarely gets into 
active service. We have also President Davies's " Lord, 
I am Thine, Entirely Thine" (The Hymnal, No. 320), 
but many who have heard it sung by a great congrega- 
tion must have felt that it should have remained rather 
as a secret between an individual soul and its Master. 
There are no other hymns for this occasion with the 
liturgical excellence of Mrs. Maude's. And that fact 
greatly strengthens its title to the place it now holds. 

258 studies of familiar hymns 

The author of the Hymn 

Mary Fawler Hooper was born in 1819, and is the 
daughter of George H. Hooper, of Stanmore, Middlesex. 
In 1841 she was married to the Rev. Joseph Maude, who 
became Vicar of Chirk, in North Wales, and an Honorary 
Canon of St. Asaph's Cathedral, and whose death, in 
1887, has been referred to already. In 1848 her Twelve 
Letters on Confirmation were published, and in 1852 she 
printed privately her Memorials of Past Years. She has 
written other hymns, mostly for use in her husband's 
parish, but none of these has come into general use. 

Mrs. Maude's life has been in no sense that of a 
woman of letters, or one lived in the public eye. It has 
been that of the faithful wife of a village pastor, the 
sharer of his labors and his hopes. Of such a life, how- 
ever successful, the rewards are not with men. Her 
hymn represents her one point of contact with the larger 
public. And even the hymn was written with no more 
ambitious aim than that of being helpful to a class of 
village girls. " The praise of any usefulness," Mrs. Maude 
modestly says in a recent letter, " must be all given to 
Him whose glory it is to work by such simple means." 
Mrs. Maude is now in the evening of her life, but it 
seems likely that for long her name will be pleasantly 
remembered in connection with the hymn of her younger 
days. (Mrs. Maude died in 191 3.) 


(1) " For ever" is so long a time that only God Him^ 
self could be justified in covering it with a pledge or 
promise. Is the beautiful ideal of our being God's for 


2 59 

/%/xszy y^Zar&t *fa**<^jz__ 

ever set before us by the hymn in such a way that we 
can sing it in sincerity and in truth ? 

(2) The text of the hymn in The Hymnal (and here) 
differs in one word, apparently, from the original. The 
editor was unable to secure a copy of the little book in 
which the hymn first appeared, and he had to determine 
the text from such evidence as he could obtain. He has 
now in his possession an autograph of the hymn in which 
verse four begins : — 

" Thine for ever ! Shepherd, keep 
Us, Thy frail and trembling sheep" ; 

and also a letter in which Mrs. Maude states that she 
originally wrote " Shepherd," and does not know who 


changed it to " Saviour." " Shepherd " seems, therefore, 

to be the correct word. Is it not also the better word, 
and why ? 

The second of the two lines just quoted from the 
autograph of the hymn also differs from the text printed 
in The Hymnal. In spite of that fact the present writer 
believed the Hymnal text to be correct ; and when this 
Stud) r was originally printed he remarked at this point : 
" In regard to the second line there is reason to think 
that Mrs. Maude has on other occasions given ' These ' 
and not 'Us' as the correct wording. Certainly the 
'Us' is awkward in beginning the line." And now, 
while the proofs of this second printing of the Study are 
being corrected, there arrives opportunely from England 
a copy of Mr. F. A. Jones's Famous Hymns and Their 
Authors. Mr. Jones, who has been already referred to 
as a seeker for the original manuscripts o{ well-known 
hymns, has had correspondence with Mrs. Maude con- 
cerning this hymn. She calls his attention, in a letter 
which he quotes, to alterations made in the fourth verse 
of her hymn " without any reference to " her. One of 
the unauthorized changes she objects to is that of 
"These" into "Us." She says: "'Us' is a most un- 
musical word to begin a line with, and, moreover, the 
thought of the verse is lost, for the first two lines are a 
prayer for the catechumens from the congregation : — 

' Thine for ever! Shepherd, keep 
These Thy frail and trembling sheep'; 

then the supplication reverts and embraces all present : — 

'Safe alone beneath Thy care, 
Let us all Thy goodness share.' " 


Mrs. Maude's position is doubtless correct. She is con- 
fronted, nevertheless, by her autograph copy of the 
hymn containing the very word against which she pro- 
tests as objectionable and unauthorized. This particular 
instance of confusion is referred to here not merely for 
its interest as bearing upon the text of a familiar hymn, 
but also as an illustration of the great difficult)' of attain- 
ing accuracy in these matters. Ordinarily in the case 
of a disputed text or interpretation an appeal to the 
author is regarded as bringing the matter before a court 
of last resort, whose decision is final. In the case of 
hymns, however, it has repeatedly been demonstrated 
that even the statements of their authors must be treated 
as subject to correction. 

(3) There were originally a sixth and a seventh verse 
which have not been used in the hymnals, as follows : — 

" 6 Thine for ever! In that day 

When the world shall pass away : 
When the trumpet's note shall sound, 
And the nations under ground 

" 7 Shall the awful summons hear, 

■ Which proclaims the Judgment near: 
Thine for ever ! 'Neath Thy wings 
Hide and save us, King of kings!" 

Do these lines strengthen or weaken the hymn ? 

Mrs. Maude states that the fifth verse originally ended 
with the line : — 

"Led by Thee from earth to heaven." 

The line was changed to its present form to make a 
proper conclusion to the hymn as abridged, and the 
change has her approval. 



(4) This hymn is associated with the death of the late 
Dr. Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, while visiting 
Mr. Gladstone at Hawarden. It was sung at the close 
of an early service he attended at the neighboring church 
on October nth, 1896. Returning to the church three 
hours later for the Morning Prayer he passed away 
while kneeling for the Confession. The hymn is said to 
have been sung when his funeral left Hawarden, and 
again over the grave at Canterbury Cathedral. It sug- 
gests once more the difficult}' of attaining accuracy in 
these matters that Mrs. Maude states that the hymn 
was sung to the Archbishop's " favorite old Spanish air, 
Thine for ever " ; while his son and biographer describes 
it as a beautiful Welsh tune which the Archbishop " had 
not heard before." 

The Rev. Mr. Brownlie obtained a copy of the tune, 
and thinks it only requires to be known to become a 
general favorite, and it is here printed : — 




i Sunset and evening star, 

And one clear call for me ! 
And may there be no moaning of the bar 
When I put out to sea, 

2 But such a tide as moving seems asleep, 
Too full for sound and foam, 
When that which drew from out the boundless deep 
Turns again home. 

3 Twilight and evening bell, 
And after that the dark ! 
And may there be no sadness of farewell 
When I embark ; 

4 For, though from out our bourne of time and place 
The flood may bear me far, 
I hope to see my Pilot face to face 
When I have crost the bar. 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1889 

NOTE. — The text is taken from Demeter and Other Poems, 1889. 


264 studies 01 familiar hymns 

The Story of the Hymn 

"'Crossing the Bar' was written in my father's eighty- 
first year," writes the present Lord Tennyson in the 
Memoir ; "on a day in October when we came from 
Aldworth to Farringford. Before reaching Farringford 
he had the Moaning of the Bar in his mind, and after 
dinner he showed me this poem written out. I said, 
'That is the crown of your life's work.' He answered, 
1 It came in a moment' He explained the ' Pilot ' as 
'that Divine and Unseen who is always guiding us.' A 
few days before my father's death he said to me : ' Mind 
you put " Crossing the Bar" at the end of all editions 
of my poems.' " 

The lyric was published in the volume of 1889, Dime- 
ter and Other Poems, and won instant acceptance. The 
student of poetry was glad that the old tree should bear 
so perfect a flower, and the religious public was touched 
by the venerable poet's avowal of his personal faith. 

The first public use of the poem was as an anthem at 
Lord Tennyson's funeral in Westminster Abbey on Octo- 
ber 1 2th, 1892. The daughter of the Dean of West- 
minster has pictured the scene : — 

"As the procession slowly passed up the nave and 
paused beneath the lantern, where the coffin was placed 
during the first part of the burial service, the sun lit up 
the dark scene, and touched the red and blue Union 
Jack upon the coffin with brilliant light, filtering through 
the painted panes of Chaucer's window on to the cleared 
purple space by the open grave, and lighting up the beau- 
tiful bust of Dryden, the massive head of Longfellow, 
the gray tomb of Chaucer and the innumerable wreaths 

Urfay fa. /> 


W*u Uun U6L fa. ^. 

^ W n*u U n* ^o^j ^/u u* 

******* +± fi* n* * S^. , 

*** 4fc «</ fe oC^t; 



heaped upon it. In the intense and solemn silence which 
followed the reading of the lesson were heard the voices 
of the choir singing in subdued and tender tones Tenny- 
son's ' Crossing the Bar ' — those beautiful words in which 
the poet, as it were, prophetically foretold his calm and 
peaceful deathbed. In the second line the clear, thrilling 
notes of a boy's voice sounded like a silver trumpet call 
amongst the arches, and it was only at intervals that one 
distinguished Dr. Bridge's beautiful organ accompani- 
ment, which swelled gradually from a subdued murmur 
as of the morning tide into a triumphant burst from the 
voices, so blended together were words and music." 

The credit of introducing Tennyson's lyric as a hymn 
belongs to Presbyterians. A committee of the Free 
Church of Scotland engaged Sir Joseph Barnby to set it 
to music, and printed it in their Home and School Hymnal 
of 1893. In this country also the Presbyterians were the 
first to include it among their hymns, it appearing in The 
Hymnal of 1895. It has since appeared in The Church 
Hymnary of the Scottish Churches and in several inde- 
pendent collections. 

The author of the Hymn 

Alfred Tennyson was born August 6th, 1809, at 
Somersby, a Lincolnshire village of which his father was 
the rector. Even as a child he made verses, and as early 
as 1827 he and his brother Charles published a volume 
of Poems by Tzoo Brothers. The next year he went to 
Trinity College, Cambridge. " The Lover's Tale " was 
written at that time, and in the summer following he 
gained the chancellor's prize for a poem on Timbuctoo. 

When only twenty-one Tennyson published his Poems 


Chiefly Lyrical. They had a wonderful freshness, and in 
them were the very witchery of music and all the shapes 
and colors of word painting. Dreamy young people 
were fascinated by these lyrics. Older people, whose 
tastes had been formed on more conventional models, 
looked at them more doubtfully, and some, like Christo- 
pher North, laughed at them. They were the ex- 
periments of a young artist, and many of the poems 
Tennyson withdrew afterward, with the deepening of his 
thoughts and purposes. But the book marks the worthy 
beginning of a great poetic career of more than sixty 
years, that in its circumstances and its influence is almost 
ideal. Tennyson no doubt will always stand as the 
representative poet of Queen Victoria's reign. 

To trace that career and to record his poetical achieve- 
ments belongs to English literature and not to hymnology. 
Except the little children's hymn in " The Promise of 
May," and possibly this poem, Tennyson wrote nothing 
designed for a hymn, although some verses from the 
prologue of " In Memoriam " are often included in hymn 
books. It was a favorite project with his friend Dr. 
Jowett, Master of Balliol College, that the poet should 
" write a few hymns in a high strain, to be a treasure to 
the world and to the Church." " I want him to think 
of millions of persons repeating his words with the liv- 
ing voice, during many centuries. Is this a crown to 
be despised?" — Jowett wrote to the poet's son. But 
Tennyson had a feeling that hymns were expected to 
be commonplace, and for that reason, perhaps, he felt 
little impulse to attempt them. 

Tennyson had a deeply religious nature and regarded 
himself as intrusted with a divine message. He was a 


humble believer in Christ. " What the sun is to that 
flower, that," he once said, "Jesus Christ is to my soul." 
He spoke often of the actuality of Christ's presence to 
him in the Holy Communion. Indeed, he lived and 
wrought always as in the divine presence, saying once to 
his niece in the most natural way: "God is with us now, 
on this down, as we two are walking together, just as 
truly as Christ was with the two disciples on the walk to 
Emmaus. We cannot see Him, but He — the Father 
and the Saviour and the Spirit — is nearer, perhaps, now 
than then to those who are not afraid to believe the 
words of the apostle about the actual and real presence 
of God and His Christ with all who yearn for it." 

As this glorious career drew toward its close, his 
queen, who had twice before sought to crown it with 
civic honors, offered the poet a peerage. While the 
offer appealed to him but little, he accepted it as repre- 
senting the nation's tribute to literature, and in 1883 
became Baron Tennyson of Aldworth in Sussex and of 
Freshwater in the Isle of Wight. On October 6th, 1892, 
God gave him, after a brief sickness, just such a quiet 
death as he had craved in this poem, his hand clasp- 
ing a volume of Shakespeare, which he had asked for 
just before the end. 

Some points for Discussion 

(1) It seems strange that the personality of the " Pilot " 
should have been a matter of discussion. But a per- 
verse effort was made by certain critics to deny that the 
poem was really an avowal of Christian faith. As to 
this the present Lord Tennyson writes : " My father was 
much pained to learn that an)- one could misinterpret 

St •. \ '.s'/. / ' AND El '/■- . \ '/. \ G S I '. / A' 


" the ' Pilot ' in ' Crossing the Bar,' and imagine that it 
referred to Arthur Hallam or to my brother Lionel. 
He had thought there could be only one possible inter- 
pretation. Repeatedly and emphatically, at his dictation, 


I have had to say this. Moreover, I have had to ex- 
plain, also at his dictation, that in the line, ' And after 
that the dark,' the 4 dark ' merely means ' The Valley of 
the Shadow of Death.' " 

(2) And one clear call for me! What is this call? 
The passage from " Enoch Arden " will be remem- 
bered : — 

" Then the third night after this, 
While Enoch slumber' d motionless and pale, 
And Miriam watch'd and dozed at intervals, 


" There came so loud a calling of tlie sea, 
That all the bouses in the haven rang. 
He woke, he rose, he spread his arms abroad, 
( Tying with a loud voice, ' A sail ! a sail ! 
I am saved' ; and so fell back and spoke no more." 

In an edition of Tennyson's poems Mr. W. Trego Webb 
gives the following definition " on the authority, if not in 
the words, of Lord Tennyson himself: — 

" A calling of the sea. A term used in some parts of 
England for a ground-swell. When this occurs on a 
windless night, the sound not only echoes through the 
houses standing near the beach, but is often heard many 
miles inland." 

(3) A recent writer thinks that Tennyson mixed his 
metaphors in the last line, where " we are abruptly con- 
fronted with a new contradictory image of facing the 
pilot when we have crossed the bar, as though he were 
then receiving us into his care, instead of dismissing us 
from it." Father Tabb, the poet, answers this by saying 
that before a ship sails out of port the pilot is in charge, 
nor does the law allow her to cross the bar without 
him ; and that in the poem it is a question not of hav- 
ing a pilot, but of seeing him face to face, which in our 
voyage we cannot hope to do till we have crossed the 
bar. Is there any confusion of metaphor here ? 

(4) The meaning of another line has also been dis- 
cussed. In the Memoir of Bishop Walsham How the 
following passage occurs in a letter dated October 24th, 
1 890 : — 

"A few months ago the Master of Trinity (Dr. Butler) sent 
me a Latin version of Tennyson's 'Crossing the Bar.' I 
ventured to criticise one word. In rendering the lines : — 


1 When that which drew from out the boundless deep 
Turns again home,' 

he introduced the word ' vita.' I said I thought it was wrong, 
as I always understood those lines of the tide and not of the 
life. He replied, referring me to Tennyson's 'Out of the 
deep, my child, out of the deep,' and to various other pas- 
sages of Tennyson, proving that the thought of the life being 
drawn out of the depths of infinity to return thither again 
was a very familiar one to him. He also showed me several 
places in Wordsworth where the same thought occurs. This 
entirely convinced me that I was wrong, and I then observed 
that in each of the other stanzas the third and fourth lines 
refer to the thing typified, and the first and second to the 
type, so that symmetry of arrangement was against me. After 
some time the Master wrote to me from the Isle of Wight, 
where he had seen Tennyson, and told me he had told him 
of our correspondence, and the poet had said I was right and 
Butler wrong. I still think the author had better adopt 
Butler's view and make it his own, the arguments for it being 
so strong." 

But does not the imagery seem to require that the 
words refer to the tide on which the ship floats ? 

(5) Does it seem likely that this lyric is to take its 
place among the accepted hymns of the Church ? In 
its favor are its exquisite beauty and its appeal to every 
Christian heart. Against it are its irregularity of metre, 
requiring more extended music than an ordinary hymn, 
so that it must in any event be reserved for somewhat 
occasional use ; and also its lack of hymnic form, which, 
however, is no more marked here than in the case of 
" Lead, Kindly Light." It is significant, perhaps, that 
the omission of the hymn from a recent hymnal caused 


so much remark that in revising the plates of the book 
the opportunity was taken to insert it. Yet, on the 
other hand, a distinguished literary woman, Mrs. ( )li- 
phant, appears to question the propriety of using this 
lyric as a funeral hymn. In a letter, published since her 
death, she wrote : " Is it true that Hallam Tennyson has 
wished it to be set to music and sung at the funeral ? I 
can't think it very suitable for that. I suggested to Dr. 
Bridge those verses from ' In Memoriam ' : — 

' Peace ; come away : the song of woe 
Is. after all, an earthly song.' " 


[Titles of books, etc.. in Italics.] 

Abends (Tune), 36 

Abney, Sir Thomas and Lady, 

Adams, John Brydges, 119 
Adams, Sarah Flower:— her hymn, 

" Nearer, My God, to Thee," 117- 

126; sketch of, 118-122; portrait 

of, 121 ; autographs of, 121, 123 
Adams, Rev. Dr. William, 222 
Adeste Fideles (Tune), 47 
African colonization, Mr. Key and, 

Alexandria, 245 
Allen, Rev. Dr. A. V. G., his Life of 

Phillips Brooks, 9, 10 
Alterations of hymns, 22, 34, 93, 106, 

124, 259 
"America," as the name of a hymn, 

99, 101 ; as the name of a tune, 

101, 105, 181 
Andover Seminary, Samuel F. Smith 

at, 99 ; hymn book edited by its 

professors, 30, 124 
"Angel faces," meaning of, 95 
Anglican school of hymn tunes, 68, 

Annapolis, 56 

Apologia pro Vita Suo, 88, 92 
Arnold, John, 151 
Arnold, Matthew, 135 
Art and consecration, 217 
Ash, Rev. Dr. John, 194 
Assize Sermon (Keble's), 32, 92 
Association of hymns with particular 

tunes, 46-48, 153-154 

Astley, 214, 218 
Athenceum, 167 

Augsburg, 158, 159 

Baker, Rev. Dr. George D., 172 

Ballad metre, 12 

Baltimore, Mr. Key in, 54, 58 ; attack 

on, 59 
Baptist hymnody, 38,44,46, 104, 194, 


Baptist Missionary Magazine, 102 

Baring-Gould, Rev. Sabine : — his 
hymn, "Onward, Christian Sol- 
diers," 107-116; sketch of, in- 
114; portrait of, 113; autograph 
of, III 

Barnby, Sir Joseph, 266 

Beecher, Henry Ward, 30, 123, 173 

Belleville Avenue Congregational 
Church, Newark, 80 

Belshazzar, 240 
I Benson, Archbishop Edward White, 
34, 262 

Bethany (Tune), 124 

Bethlehem, Phillips Brooks at, 2 

Biblical language in hvmns, 48-40, 
146, 246; the Bible as a theme of 
hymns, 199 

Bickersteth, Bishop Edward FL. 04 

Bird, Rev. Frederick M., 52, 223, 
224, 225 

Bloomfield, N. J., the Duffields at, 
19, 20, 21 

Blue-Stocking Revels, quoted, 121 
I Boardman s Selection, 173 




Book of Common Prayer, 10, 27, 28, 
152, 206, 241, 254 

Book of Hymns, 92, 123, 138, 142 

Book of Praise, 34 

Boston, Phillips Brooks in, 7-8 ; 
Lowell Mason in, 08, 99; Ray 
Pamier in, 80; S. F. Smith in, 98, 
104: John S. Dwight in, 190 

Bridge, Dr. Frederick, 266, 272 

British Magazine, 92 

Brixham, Lower, 170 

Brook Farm, 190 

Brooke, Rev. John T., 56, 58 

Brooks, Rev. Dr. Arthur, 3 

Brooks, Rev. Charles T., 179-189; 
portrait of, 187 ; autograph of, 182 

Brooks, Bishop Phillips: — his hymn, 
"O Little Town of Bethlehem," 
1-12; sketch of, 7-10 ; portrait of, 
9 ; autographs of, 3, 11 

Broughton, 196-198 

Browning, Robert, 119 

Brownlie, Rev. John, 254, 262 

Buckingham, Governor, 180 

Butler, Rev. Dr. Henry M., 270. 

Byron, 234 

Calling of the sea, 270 

Cambridge Divinity School, Long- 
fellow and Johnson at, 138 

Cambridge Intelligencer, 118 

Cambridge, University of, Bishop 
Wordsworth at, 202 

Campbell, Thomas, 235 

Carlyle, Thomas, 161, 167 

Carmina Sacra, 179, 186 

Carols, Christmas and Easter, 9, 153 

Carrington, General Henry B., 104 

Cawood, Rev. John, 214 

Central Presbyterian Church (N. L.), 
Philadelphia, 20 

" Ceylon's isle," 72 

Chambers, Rev. John, 16 

Channing, Dr., 164 

Chauncy, Dr. Isaac, 134 

Children's hymns, 8-9, 109 

Chirk, 255 
Christ in Song, 246 
Christian Lyre, 54 
Christian Messenger, 53 
Christian Observer, 66-67, 7* 
Christian Review, 104 
Christian, The, 43 
Christian Year, 26-29, 87. 206, 235 
Christmas at Bethlehem, 2; at l^je- 
mados, Cuba, 47; Christmas ca.oU, 
9, 153 ; " Adeste F. deles," 47-46 
Church, The, in hymnody, 115 
(Jiurch Hymnal { Hutch ins), no 
Church Hynviary (Scoit.shj, 125, 266 
Church of England hyimiody, 4 r ->,'J4, 

71, 73. 129. x 52. 234-236 
Church of the Covenant, Philadel- 
phia, 14 
Church of the Disciples, 123 
Church of the Epiphany, Philadel- 
phia, 14 
Church of the Holy Trinity, Phila- 
delphia, 2, 3, 7 
Church Poetry, 51-53, 61, 230 
Church Porch, 6 
Church Psalmist, 17 
Church Times, 109 
Churchman, 105 

Civil War (1861), 17. 83. 108, 180 
Clarke, Rev. J. Freeman, 123 
Clement of Alexandria, 244-246 
Clemson, Rev. John B., 225 
Clolata (Tune), 36 
Coleridge, 234 

Commentary on the Whole Bible, 204 
Common metre, 12 
Compleat Psalmodist, 151 
Composite hymns, 148 
Confirmation service, 254 
Congregational Quarterly, 248 
Congregationalism of the Last Three 

Hundred Years. 248 
Congregationalist, 93, 246, 248 
Congregationalist and Recorder. 218 
Congregationalist hymnody, 46, 129, 
130, 256 



Consecration, 212; and art, 217 
Consecration hymns, proper use of, 

Coverdale, M> les, 160 
Coxe, Bishop Arthur C, 73 
Crabbe, 234 
Craigie House, 140 
Cross, The, in hymnody, 59, 125, 132, 

177 ; (processional), 107 
" Cross. ng the Bar," 263-272 ; 

(Tune), 266 
Cruciger, Kaspar, 159 
Cummings, William H., 105 
Carious My I lis oj the Middle Ages, 

Curiosities of the Olden Time, 112 
Cuyler, Rev. Dr. Theodore L., 76,82 

Dalston, 118, 119 

Da vies, President Samuel, 257 

" Declining Days," 171 

De vieter and Other Poems, 263, 264 

Dexter, Rev. Elijah, 247 

Dexter, Rev. Dr. Henry M. : — his 
translation, "Shepherd of Tender 
Youth," 243-252: sketch of, 247- 
250; portrait of, 249; autograph 
of, 247 

Dexter, Rev. Morton, 249 

Dial, The, 164 

Dictionary of Hymnology, 45 

Didactic hymns, 210 

Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield), 204 

Doane, Bishop George W., 29 

Doddridge, Rev. Dr. Philip, 49 

" Dream of Gerontius," 93 

Duffield, Rev. George (1st), 18; 
(2nd), 18; (3rd), 18: — his hymn, 
"Stand Up for Jesus," 13-24; 
sketch of, 18-21; portrait of, 19; 
autographs of, 19, 23 

Duffield, Rev. Samuel W., 18, 19, 20 

Dwight, John S., 179-190; portrait 
of, 189; autograph of, 184 

Dwight' s Journal of Music, 190 

Dykes, Rev. John B., 94 

Easter carols, 9, 148-153 

Easter Hymn (Tune), 150 

Edg worth, Thomas, 65 

Kin Feste Burg (Tune), 159 

Ellerton, Rev. John, 176 

Elliott, Rev. Henry Venn, 29 

Enoch . Irden, 269 

/episcopal Recorder, 225-226, 229 

Ep.scopal. See Protestant Episcopal. 

Eton College, singing at, 34 

Evan (Tune), 214 

" Evangelical Catholic Church," 230 

Evangelical Party, 7, 56, 86 

Evans, Rev. Caleb, 194, 195, 198 

Evening hymns, 176 

Eventide (Tune), 173 

Eairford, 32 

Fall of Jerusalem, 240 

Family Expositor, 49 

Famous Hymns and their Authors, 260 

Faust, 189 

Fazio : a Tragedy, 238 

Fletcher, A., 45 

Flower, Benjamin, 118 

Flower, Eliza, 118, 119 

Flower, Sarah. See Adams. 

Flushing, L. I., 230 

Fort McHenry, 59 

Fort Sumter, 180, 184 

Four Georges, 68 

Four Happy Days, 214 

Fox, Mrs. Bridell, 120, 122 

Fox, Rev. William J., 118, 222, 123 

Eraser's Magazine, 161 

Frederick, Md., 55, 56 

Frederick (Tune), 226, 229 

Froude, Hurrell, 88-89 

Furness, Dr. William Henry, 162 

Gaine, Hugh, 161 
Geard (Tune), 44-45 
Gems of German Verse, 163 
Georgetown, D. C, Mr. Key in, 56 
German hymnody, 98-99, 160, 161, 



Germany, Prose Writers of, 164 

Gill, Dr. John, 43 

Gillies, Margaret, 121 

( Gladstone, 1 14, 262 

God Save the King (Tune), 101, 105, 

Goddard, Rev. Kingston, 17 
Goethe, 189 
Golden Legend, 167 
Goostly Psalmes and Spirituall 

Songes, 160 
( i< irdelier, Charles, 44 
" Gospel " for the day, 241 
Gould. See Baring-Gould 
Gould, Eliza, 119 
Gower, Lord Ronald, 86 
Grafton, Life 0/ Joseph, 104 
Gratitude, Christian, in hymns, 52, 59 
Greek hymns, 244, 250 
Greenland (Tune), 24 
Greenwood, Rev. F. W. P., 30 
Grey, Lord, 88 
Guild, Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis, Jr., 

Gustavus Adolphus, 159 

Hale, Rev. Edward E., 138 

Hallam, Arthur, 269 

Hare, Augustus, 70 

Harrow, Bishop Wordsworth at, 203 

Hartopp, Sir John, 133 

Harvard University, Dr. Hedge's 

connection with, 163; class of 1829, 

Hastings, H. L., 43-44, 48 
Hastings, Thomas, 54, 78 
Havergal, Frances R., 200: — her 

hymn, " Take My Life, and Let it 

Be," 211-220; sketch of, 214-218; 

portrait of, 215 ; autograph of, 213 
Havergal, Miss M. V. G., 217, 219 
Havergal, Rev. William H., 214, 217 
Hawarden, 262 
Haydn's tune, St. Alban, 109 
Heber, Bishop Reginald : — his hymn, 

" From Greenland's lev Moun- 

tains, " 63-74; sketch of, 68-72; 
portrait of, 09 ; autographs of, 65, 
69; his Hymns, 71, 234-236, 242 
Hedge, Rev. Fred. H. :— his transla- 
tion, " A Mighty Fortrrs> is Our 
God,'' 155-168; sketch of, 02- 
167 ; portrait of, 165 ; autograph 
of, 162 ; reference to, 246 
Heine, 159 

Henshaw, Sarah E., 180, 185-186 
Hepworth, Rev. George IL, 80 
Hesperus, 189 
Hickson, William E.. 185 
Higginson, Thomas \\\, 141 
High Chureh Party, 30, 32, 56, 71, 87, 

no, 204, 241 
Hints on the Formation of Religious 

Opinions, 81 
History of Christianity, 240 
History of the Jews, 240 
History of Latin Christianity, 240 
Hitchcock, Rev. Dr. Roswell D., no 
Hodge, Rev. Dr. Charles, 49 
Hodnet, 70 

Hogg, Mrs. A. M., 171, 176 
Holmes, Dr. Oliver Wendell, 98, 105, 

123. 144 
Holy Year, 202, 206-208, 210 
Home and School Hymnal, 266 
Home, or the Unlost Paradise, 81 
Hooper, George H., 258 
Horder, Rev. W. Garrett, 46, 196 
How, Bishop W. Walsham, 124, 270 
Howard, Mary W., 67-68 
Hunt, Leigh, 121 
Huntington, Rev. Frederick D., 156, 

166, 246 
Huntington, Rev. George, 94 
Huntington, Rev. Dr. William R., 

Hursley, 32 ; (Tune), 36 
Hutchins, Rev. Dr. Charles L., no 
" Hymn for My Brother's Ordina- 
tion," 138, 142 
Hymn Lover, The, 46 
Hymnal Companion, 94 

(//■AAA'.// I XL) EX 

2 77 

Hymnal, Presbyterian (1874), 54, no 
Hymnal, The (1895). See Preface 

(to this book reference is made 

throughout as the textual standard); 

its notes to the hymns, 154 
Hymnal oj the Presbyterian Church 

(1866), 124, 246 
Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal 

Church (1872), no, 256; (1892), 

6, 106, 124, 231, 236 
Hymnology, Julian s Dictionary of, 45 
Hymns . — 

alterations of, 22, 34, 93, 106, 124, 


Biblical language in, 48-49, 146, 

churchly, 205 

composite, 148 

didactic, 210 

egotistical, 205, 209 

form proper to, 12, 271 

literary merit of, 125, 135, 234, 
256, 267 

as liturgical verse, 206, 257 

and lyrical poetry, 256 

memorizing of, 9-10 

military, 21, 108 

of personal experience, 77, 205, 

poetic merit of, 73, 84, 125, 234, 

prejudice against, 128 ; introduc- 
tion into Church of England, 
64, 71, 129, 152, 234-236; in- 
troduction into American Con- 
gregational and Presbyterian 
Churches, 129, 237 

private use of, 195, 205, 231 

processional, 115 

vs. Psalms, 128 

teaching-power of, 206, 209 

translated, 161, 250 

of Watts as models for his suc- 
cessors, 128 

Bishop Wordsworth on the char- 
acter of, 205 

Hymns .Indent and Modern (1861), 

109, no, 173, 177; Appendix to 

(1868), 93, 94, 108, 109, no 
Hymns and Anthems, 118, 122-123 
Hymns and Sacred Pieces, 76, 8 1 
Hymns and Songs of Praise, no 
Hymns and Spiritual Songs \ Watts), 

127-129, 200, 237 ; see frontispiece. 
Hymns for the Church of Christ, 150, 

163, i66, 246 
Hymns of My Holy Hours, 81 
Hymns of the Protestant Episcopal 

Church (1827), 54, 221, 226, 229, 

Hymns of the Spirit, 137, 142, 143 
Hymns Written and Adapted to the 

Weekly Church Service, 71, 234- 

236, 242 

Iceland: Ps Scenes and its Sagas, 112 
Imitations of the Psalms, by Watts, 

/// Memoriam, 267, 272 
Independent, 105, 106 
India, 70, 73 
Ingoldsby legends, 238 
Instructor, The, 245 

Jacobi, J. C, 161 

Jayne's Hall Meetings, Philadelphia, 

14, 22 
John, Elector of Saxony, 158 
"John Brown's Body," 180 
Johnson, Dr., 134 
Johnson, Rev. Samuel, 92, 137, 138 
Jonas, Dr. Justus, 159 
Jones, Francis Arthur, 237, 260 
Journal of a I r oyage to India, 72 
Jowett, Rev. Dr. Benjamin, 267 
Julian, Rev. Dr. John, 43, 45 
Juvenile lyre, 101 

" K " in Rippon's " Selection," 

38, 40-46 
Keats, 234 
Keble (Tune), 36 



Keble, Rev. John :— his hymn, "Sun 
of My Soul, Thou Saviour Dear," 
25-3 6 ; sketch of, 30-34; portrait 
of, 31 ; autograph of, 27 ; references 
to, 87, 92, 96, 177, 206-207, 2 35 

Keene, R., 43, 44, 45, 48 

Keith. George, 43 

Ken, Bishop, 34 

Key, Francis S. : — his hymn, " Lord, 
with Glowing Heart I'd Praise 
Thee," 51-61 ; sketch of, 55-59 ; 
portrait of, ^y ; autographs of, 53, 

Key, John Ross, 55 

KJngsley, Rev. Charles, 92 

Kingsley, George, 226, 229 

" Kirkham," 42 

Kostlin, Julius, 158 

Kunze, Rev. Dr. John C, 161 

Lancashire (Tune), 24 

Lancaster, Pa., Dr. Muhlenberg at, 
224, 230 

Latin hymns, 47, 93, 148, 149, 250 

Leavitt, Rev. Joshua, 54 

Lee, General Robert E., 48 

Legends of the Old Testament, 112 

Leipzig, Battle of, 159 

Lew Trenchard, 112. 114 

Liberal hymns, 144 ; Singers and 
Songs of the Liberal Faith, 181, 
186, 188 

Lick, James, 58 

Literary merit in hymns, 125, 135, 
234, 256, 267 

Liturgical poetry, 206, 257 

/ires of the S, lints, 112 

Lloyd, Mary Tayloe, 56 

London, Milman in, 241 

Longfellow, Henry \V., 138, 140, 142, 

Longfellow, Rev. Samuel, 92, 123 : — 
his hymn, " O Still in Accent? Sweet 
and Strong," 137-146 ; sketch of, 
138-143 ; portrait of, 141 ; auto- 
graph of, 145 

I. >rd's Day hymns, 208, 209 
Tale, 266 

Laval Responses , 217 

Luther, Dr. Martin : — his hymn, 
" Ein' Feste Burg ist Unser Gott," 
i55- l6 8 ; portrait and autograph 
of, 157 

Lutheran hymnody, 160, 161 

Liitzen, Battle of, 159 

Lux Benigna (Tune), 94 

Lyra Apostolica, 85, 91, 92 

Lyra Davidica, 149-151, 160 

Lyra Liinocenttum, 33 

Lyre, The Christian, 54 

Lyrical poetry and hymns, 256 

Lyte, Rev. Henry F. : — his hymn, 
" Abide with Me," 169-178 ; sketch 
of, 173-176 ; portrait of, 175 ; auto- 
graphs of, 171, 175 

McCauley, Richard, 5 

Macgill, Rev. H. M., 251 

Macllvaine, Bishop, 16 

McKinley, President, 125 

Maclaren, Ian, 135 

Magnificat, 244 

Manchester, X. H., Dr. Dexter at, 

Mann, Dr. M. D., 125 
Manning, Cardinal, 202 
Marseillaise, The, 159 
Martineau, Harriet, 119 
Martyr of Antioch, 235, 240 
Mary, the Song of, 244 
Mason, Lowell : — beginning of his 

career, 68 ; in Boston, 78, 99, 101, 

124, 184; references to, 82, 84, 179, 

183, 186, 187, 188, 208 
Maude, Mary F. : — her hymn, 

"Thine For Eve*!" 253-262; 

sketch of, 258 ; portrait of, 259 ; 

autographs of, 255. 250 
Maude, Rev. Joseph, 258 
Meade, Bishop. 58 
Melancholy poetry, 222 
Melanchthon, 159 



Memorials of a Quiet Life, 70 
Memorials of Past Years, 258 
Mendebras (Tune), 208 
Merle d'Aubigne\ 158 

Military hymns, their popularity, 21, 

Milman, Arthur, 238, 241 

Milman, Sir Francis, 238 

Milman, Dean Henry H., 71 :— his 
hymn, " O Help Us, Lord," 233- 
242; sketch of, 238-241 ; portrait 
of, 239; autographs of, 237, 239 

Milnor, Rev. Dr. James, 77 

Ministry of Song, 217 

Missionary Hymn (Tune), 68 

Missionary hymns, 64, 68, 73-74 

Missionary movement in nineteenth 
century, 73 

Missionary Sketches, 104 

Mitford, Miss., 238 

Monk, William Henry, 173 

Montgomery, James, 128, 235 

Monthly Repository, 120 

" Moonlight Sonata," 216 

Moore, Thomas, 235 

Morbid views of life in hymns, 222, 

Morgan, Rev. John, 130 

Muhlenberg, Frederick A., 229-230 

Muhlenberg, Rev. Dr. Henry M., 229 

Muhlenberg, Rev. Dr. William A., 
51-54, 61 : — his hymn, " I Would 
Not LiveAlway," 221-232; sketch 
of, 229-231 ; portrait of, 229 ; auto- 
graphs of, 225, 229 

Murray, John, 234 

Musical Times, no 

Nash, Sylvester, 52 

National Anthem, the, 105 ; national 

hymn, 102, 105, 179 
Nelson, Horatio, Earl, 33 
New York, Ray Palmer in, 76-77; 

Dr. Muhlenberg in, 230 
Newark, Ray Palmer in, 80 
Newdigate prize, 69, 238 

Newman, John, 86 

Newman, Cardinal John H., 31, 
32 : — his hymn, " Lead, Kindly 
Light," 85-96; sketch of, 86-93; 
portraits of, 87, 95; autograph of, 

Newton Centre, Dr. Smith at, 102 
Newton, Mass., History of, 104 
Nice, Lyte's grave at, 172, 175 
Noonday prayer-meetings in Phila- 
delphia, 14 
North, Christopher, 175, 267 

Old Diaries, 86 

Oliphant, Mrs. M. O. W., 272 

Olivet (.Tune), 78 

Onderdonk, Bishop Henry U., 226 

Origin and Development of Religious 
Belief, 112 

Other-wordliness, 231 

Outlook, 99 

Oxford movement, 32, 92 

Oxford University, Keble and New- 
man at, 30-32, 87, 91-92; Heber 
at, 69 ; Milman at, 238 

Palermo, 90 

Palestine, 67, 69 

Palmer, Rev. Dr. Ray : — his hvmn, 
" My Faith Looks Up to Thee," 
75-84 ; sketch of, 80-83 ; portrait 
of, 83 ; autograph of, 79 

Palmer, Roundell (Lord Selborne), 

Palmer, Thomas, 80 
Pantnenus, 245 

Park Street Church, Boston, 80, 101 
Parker, Theodore, 138 
Parlor music era of psalmody, 226 
Patmos (Tune), 214 220 
Peel, Sir Robert, 203 
Philadelphia, "The Work of God" 

in, 14-17 ; Phillips Brooks in, 2-5, 

7 ; Dr. Duffield in, 20 
Pick, Rev. Dr. Bernhard, 161 
Pilgrim Fathers, 105-106, 248 

2 SO 


Plymouth, 248 

Plymouth Collection, 30, 124, 173 

Poems by Two Brothers, 266 

Poems ( 'hiefly Lyrical, 267 

I' etii merit in hymns, 73, 84, 125, 

Cortland, the I <ongfellows in, 138 
P01 tuguese 1 1\ inn ( Tunc), 47 
l\.i\ er Hook, io, 27, 28, 152, 206, 241, 

Prayer Book ( ollection, 10, 109 
Presbyterian Historical Society, 55 
Presbyterian Hymnal (1866) , 124, 

246 : (1874). 54, no; U895). see 

Preface | to this Look all textual 

references are made 1 ; its rj 

the hymns, 154 
Presbyterian hymnody, 46, 54, 106, 

no, 125, 129, 173, 177, 256, 266 
Price, Rev. Mr., 130 
Processionals, 115 

or at tin' Breakfast Tabic, 123 
Promise of May, 2.6j 
Proper tunes, 46-48, 153 
Protestant Episcopal Church, Hymns 

of, (1827), 54, 221, 226, 229, 236 
Protestant Episcopal Hymnal (1872), 

no, 256; (1892), 6, 106, 124, 231, 

Protestant Episcopal hymnody, 6, 52, 

54, 106, 109-110, 194, 223, 226, 230, 

Psalm XLVI., 160, 167 
Psalmist, 104, 236 
Psalmodia Germanica, 161 
Psalmody, Havergal's, 217 
Psalms as the only subject matter of 

praise, 128 
Psalms imitated by Watts, 129 
Psalms, metrical, 71, 128, 152,194; 

Keble's version, 33; Tate and 

Brady's, 147. 152 
Psalms and Hymns ( Prayer Book 

Collection), 10, 109 
Psaltery, 187 
Pusej . Dr., 32 

Putnam's Singers and Songs of the 

Libera/ Faith, 181, 186, 188 

Quarterly Review, 70, 234 
Quemados, Cuba, Christmas at, 47 

Radical hymns, 142, 144 
Rattles, Rev. Dr. Thomas, 66 
Random Recollections, 94 
Reading, John, 4') 
Reading Daily Times, 167 
Rebellion (1861). 17, 83, 108, 180 
Recollections of a Long Life, 82 
Redner, Lewis H., 3-6, 11 ; portrait 

of, 5 ; autograph of, 7 
Reed, Rev. Andrew, 78 
Reformation, the, 158-160; Merle 

d'Aubigne's History of, 158 
Resurrection of Christ, 147 
Revival of 1857-58, 14 
Revolutionary War, 18, 109 
Richter, 189 
Rippon, Rev. John, 38, 44 ; portrait 

of, 39 
Rippon s Selection, 38-42, 46, 194 
Rippon' s Dine Book, 43 
Robinson, Rev. Dr. Charles S., 92- 

93, 208, 256 
Rock of Ages, 104 
Roman Catholic hymnody, 47, 86 
Rowe. Rev. Thomas, 132 
Royal Progress, The, 120 
Russell, Joshua T., 53 

Sabbath Hymn Hook, 17. 22, 30, 236 
Sabbath Hymn and Tune Book, 24, 

San Francisco, 58 
St. Alban (Tune), 109 
St. Gertrude (Tune 1, no 
St. Johnland, 230, 231 
St. Louis 1 Tune), 4, 5 
St. Luke's Hospital, X. V., 230-231 
St. Mary's, Oxford, 87 
St. Paul's, London, 241 
Salisbury Hymn Book, 29, 33 



Samor, 240 

Saturday ( !lub, 190 

Savannah, Ga., Lowell Mason in, 


Schaff, Rev. Dr. Philip, no, 222, 246 

Scherer, \\\, 158 

Scott, Sir Walter, 69, 235, 236 

Scottish Church Hymnary, 125,266 

Scripture, Holy, in hymnody, 199 

Sedgwick, Daniel, 42-43, 185, 195 

Selborne, Lord (Roundell Palmer), 34 

Shelley, 234 

Shipley, Dean, 64 

Sicily, Newman in, 89 

Sidney, Sir Philip, 76 

Singers and Songs of the Liberal Faith , 
181, 186, 188 

Singing Master, 185 

Slavery, Mr. Key and, 157-158 

Smith, Rev. Dr. Samuel F. : — his 
hymn, "America," 97-106; sketch 
of, 102-104 ; portrait of, 103 ; auto- 
graph of, 100 

Songs for the Sanctuary, 92, 208, 256 

Songs of Grace and Glory, 212, 217 

Songs of Pilgrimage, 43-44 

Songs of the West, 112 

Southey, Robert, 235, 236 

Spalatin, 156 

Spanish War, 47 

Spirit of the Psalms, 176 

Spiritual Songs for Social Worship, 
78, 84, 101 

Stanley, Dean, 20 

Star Spangled Banner, 52, 55, 58 

Steele, Anne : — her hymn, " Father 
of Mercies, in Thy Word," 191- 
200 ; sketch of, 196-198 ; autograph 
of, 193 

Steele, William, 196 

Stewart, Benedict D., 17 

Stockton, Rev. Thomas H., 16 

Stone, Rev. Samuel ]., 115 

Strand Magazine, 237 

Sullivan. Sir Arthur, no, 176 

Sun of My Soul (Tune), 36 

Sunday hymns, 208, 209 
Sunday-school hymnody, 3, 6, 99, 

109, no 
Sunday School Times, 47 
Sursum Corda x 105 

Tabb, John B., 270 

Tales on the Lord's /'/-aver, 175 

Tate and Brady's Version of the 

Psalms, 147, 152 
Taylor, Jeremy, 70 
Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 73, 217 : — 
his hymn, " Sunset and Evening 
Star," 263-272; sketch of, 266- 
268; portrait of, 269; autograph 
of, 265 
Tennyson, Charles, 266 
Tennyson, Hal lam (2nd Lord), 272; 

his Memoir of his father, 264, 268 
Tennyson, Lionel, 269 
Thackeray, 68 
Theobalds, 134 
Theodosia, 191, 192, 195, 200 
Thine For Ever (Tune), 262 
Thorn, John H., 28 
Thoughtless hymn singing, 34, 125 
Titan, 189 

Toplady, Rev. Augustus M., 131 
Transcendental movement, 164 
Translated hymns, 161, 250 
Trinity Church, Boston, 8 ; its parish 

hymn book, 194 
Tunes : — 

Abends, 36 

Adeste Fideles, 47 

America, 101, 105, 181 

Bethany, 124 

Clolata, 36 

Crossing the Bar, 266 

Easter Hymn, 150 

Ein' Feste Burg, 159 

Evan, 214 

Eventide, 173 

Frederick, 226, 229 

Geard, 44-45 

God Save the King, ioi, 105, 181 



Tunes : — 

( Greenland, 24 
Hursley, 36 
Keble, 36 

Lancashire, 24 

Lux Benigna, 94 

Mendebras, 208 

Missionary Hymn, 68 

Olivet, 78 

Patmos, 214, 220 

Portuguese Hymn, 47 

St. Alban, 109 

St. Gertrude, no 

St. Louis, 4, 5 

Sun of My Soul, 36 

Thine For Ever, 262 

'Twas When the Seas Were 
Roaring, 66 

Webb, 24 

Zoan, 214 
Tunes: — of Anglican school, 68, no; 
of parlor music era, 226; "proper," 
46-48, 153-154 
'Twas When the Seas Were Roaring 

(Tune), 66 
Twells, Canon Henry, 136 
Twelve Letters on Confirmation , 258 
Tyler, General Daniel, 180 
Tyng, Rev. Dudley A., 14-18, 22; 

portrait of, 15 
Tyng, Rev. Dr. Stephen H., 18 

Under the Surface, 217 
Unitarian hymnody, 30, 138, 142, 144, 
166, 236 

Verses on Various Occasions, 85 

Vivia Perpetua, 120 

Vuws of Hope and Gladness, 81 

Walker, Thomas, 43-45 

Walsh, J., 149 

War of Revolution, 18, 109; of 1812, 

58; of Rebellion, 17, 83, 108, 180; 

Spanish, 47 
Ward, Ann M., 81 
Ward, Rev. Dr. William Hayes, 80 

Watson, Rev. Dr. John, 135 

Watts, Enoch, 130 

Watts, Dr. Isaac, 38, 128-129, 2 °°, 
2 34. 2 37 : — his hymn, "When I 
Survey the Wondrous Cross," 127- 
136 ; sketch of, 132-134 ; portra.t ot 
133 ; autographs of, 131, 133 ; title- 
page of his Hymns, frontispiece. 

Waits and Select, 237 

Webb (Tune), 24 

Webb, W. Trego, 270 

Weimar, 159 

Wellington, Duke of, 202 

Wendte, Rev. C. W., 181 

Wesley, Rev. Charles, 153, 154 

Wesley, Rev. John, 135 

Wesleyan hymnody, 46 

Westminster Abbey, Bishop Words- 
worth at, 203 ; Tennyson's funeral 
in, 264, 272 

Westminster Church, Bloomfield, X. 

J- 19 

White, Bishop William, 226, 230 

Whitefield, Rev. George, 45 

Whittier, 139, 168 

Wiseman, Monsignor, 89 

Wittenberg, 158-159 

Woodbridge, William C, 98 

Wordsworth, Rev. Dr. Christopher, 

Wordsworth, Bishop Christopher: — 
his hymn, " O Day of Rest and 
Gladness," 201-210; sketch of, 
202-206; portrait of, 203; auto- 
graph of, 207 ; reference to, 257 

Word-worth, William, 206, 235, 271 

Worgan, Dr., 151 

" Work of God in Philadelphia," 

Worms, Luther at, 156 

Wrexham, 64-66 

Young Men's Christian Association, 

Zimmerman, Thomas I., 167 
Zoan (Tune), 214 


[ Those which are the subjects of the Studies are printed in Italics. 


A mighty Fortress is our Go J 1 55-1 68 

Abide 7.'//// me : fast falls the eventide 169-1 78 

Adeste fideles ■ 47 

Again, as evening's shadow falls 144 

All -praise to Thee, my God, this night 34 

Almighty God, Thy word is cast 214 

Arm these, Thy soldiers, mighty Lord 257 

Beneath Thine hammer, Lord, I lie • • • • 166 

Bridle of untamed colts 250 

Christ to the young man said 138, 142 

Fin Feste Burg ist Unser Gott 155-168 

Father of mercies, in Thy word 191-200 

Father, whate'er of earthly bliss 195 

From Greenland ' s lev mountains 63-74, 234 

Glory to Thee, my God, this night 34 

God bless our native land 106, 1 79-190 

God save our gracious king 1 01, 105, 181 

God, the Lord, a King remaineth ^ 

Golden harps are sounding 217 

H irk ! what mean those holy voices 214 

Holy Spirit, Truth Divine- 144 

Hoiu firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord 37 _ 5° 

/ would not live alway ; I ask not to star 221-232 

In songs of sublime adoration and praise 40 



1 IGE 

Jesus, I my cross have taken 1 76 

Jons Christ is risen to-day 147-154 

Just as 1 am, without one plea 29 

Lead) kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom 

85-96, 126, [38, 271 

Lord, I am Thine, entirely Thine 257 

Lord, with glowing heart I'd praise Thee 5 1-61 

My country, 'tis of thee 97-106 

My faith looks up to Thee 75 - ^4 

Nearer, my God, to Thee 1 1 7-1 26 

New every morning is the love 28 

Now I resolve with all my heart 195 

Now the day is over 114 

Now, when the dusky shades of night, retreating. ... 166 

( ) 1 ome, all ye faithful 47 

O day of rest and gladness 201-2 10 

O help us, Lord ; each hour of need 233-242 

O little town of Bethlehem 1-1 2 

O still in accents sweet and strong 137-146 

Onward, Christian soldiers 1 07-1 16 

Praise to the Holiest in the height 93 

Ride on, ride on in majesty 235. 242 

Rock of Ages, cleft for me 131 

Saviour, sprinkle many nations 73 

Shepherd of tender youth 243-252 

Stand up for Jesus ! Strengthen 'd by His hand 17 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus 1 3-23, 1 15 

Sun of my soul, Thou Saviour dear 25-36, 177 

Sunset and ereniug star 263-272 

Surrexit ( 'hristus hodie 1 48 

Take my life, and let it be 21 1-220 

The Bible is justly esteemed 40 

'The Church's one Foundation 115 

The morning light is breaking 104 



The voice that breathed o'er Eden $$ 

Thine for ever .' God of lore 253-262 

Thou Kramer of the light and dark . 29 

Through the night of doubt and sorrow 114 

Thyself, Lord, be the Bridle 25 1 

"lis gone, that bright and orbed blaze 28, 30 

'Twas the day when God's Anointed 166 

What a Friend we have in Jesus 43 

When I survey the wondrous cross 127-136 

When our heads are bowed with woe 242 

J it h^, «h- **-«-«• **> — 

)U Till *•■*»* -~ -*~*^ 

^/ At *w£- J tU^U. 


1 e Ml 

, / /Ave/ 

$*.*, /^ 



■ 1 1 

■ ■